Women in the North East and Yorkshire will soon have the option to obtain the contraceptive pill from selected local pharmacies starting next month, as announced by the NHS.

The new service will roll out across pharmacies in England from December, with the NHS anticipating that nearly half a million women nationwide will be able to access the pill next year without the prerequisite of contacting their GP.

Commencing in December, six pharmacies in the North East and Yorkshire will provide the contraceptive pill, with the nhs.uk webpage being continually updated as more pharmacies join the service.

Women can visit a participating pharmacy for a consultation, where they can either receive contraception for the first time or obtain their next supply.

This initiative is part of the NHS and the Government’s Primary Care Recovery Plan, aiming for a significant expansion in healthcare services to offer patients faster and more convenient access to care.

The North East and Yorkshire pharmacies offering the contraceptive pill service from December are as follows:

  • Cumbria: Urwin Chemist, Main Road, Seaton, Workington (CA14 1JE)
  • Durham: Boots, 2/5 Market Place (DH1 3NB)
  • Hull: Boots Pharmacy, The Orchard Centre, Orchard Park Road (HU6 9BX), and Newington Pharmacy, Anlaby Road (HU3 6EN)
  • Newcastle upon Tyne: Boots UK Limited, Northumberland Street (NE1 7DQ)
  • Sheffield: Welfare Pharmacy, Glossop Road (S10 2HS)

Women are eligible to use the service if they are already taking a prescribed oral contraceptive, wish to start taking one, need a refill, or can access a participating pharmacy.

Andrew Hogan, MPharmS, Services Pharmacist at Boots in Durham, said: “Having taken part in the initial trial for women to access contraceptive services from their community pharmacy, and now involvement in the pilot service for women to access contraception initiation within a community pharmacy setting, I’ve seen first-hand the benefits to patients. Patients have fed back that ‘ease of access’ is a priority for them as well as knowing they are receiving expert care from a trusted healthcare professional.

“The service allows me as a pharmacist the opportunity to utilise my full skill set, delivering a robust consultation in partnership with the patient, leading to shared decision-making and the patient making an educated choice on what form of contraception is best suited to their individual needs. Having the service performed within the pharmacy allows immediate access to treatment without the need to visit general practice or primary care.”

Michele Cossey, Regional Chief Pharmacist, for NHS England in North East and Yorkshire, said: “The care and support people receive from their local pharmacy is rightly highly valued by patients and so it is essential we use the skills and convenience of community pharmacy teams to make it as easy as possible for people to get the help they need.

“This is really good news for women – we all lead increasingly busy lives and this move will reduce barriers when women need or want to access contraception – rather than making a GP appointment, they can simply go to their local pharmacy.”