Contraceptive pill checks will move to pharmacies to free up three million GP appointments a year 

  • Around 3.1million women in England are thought to be on oral contraceptives 
  • Each was previously advised to have a pill check with a GP at least once a year
  • These checks will now be available from high street pharmacies 

Women can now have their annual contraceptive pill checks at pharmacies in a move that could free up 3million GP appointments a year.

It means other patients should find it easier to secure a consultation with their family doctor for more complex issues.

It comes as the Daily Mail campaigns for better access to face-to-face GP appointments. One of the Mail’s manifesto demands is for pharmacists and nurses to take on some GP work, where possible.

Women can now have their annual contraceptive pill checks at pharmacies in a move that could free up 3million GP appointments a year

The rule change came into effect yesterday. Around 3.1million women in England are thought to be on oral contraceptives and each was previously advised to have a pill check with a GP at least once a year.

This allows doctors to check their weight, height and blood pressure and make sure they are not experiencing any dangerous side effects, such as clotting and migraines.

But these checks will now be available from high street pharmacies, where pharmacists will ask the same questions, take the same measurements and dispense the same free medication. 

Around 3.1million women in England are thought to be on oral contraceptives and each was previously advised to have a pill check with a GP at least once a year

Some will require the confidential consultations to be booked in advance while others will allow women to drop in without notice.

The pilot scheme will initially be available only to those who are already on the Pill. They can continue to see their GP for their annual checks if they prefer.

Ruth May, chief nursing officer at NHS England, said: ‘This new pilot is not only convenient for women who will be able to pop into their pharmacy to sort their prescription for the contraceptive pill – avoiding the need for a consultation with their GP or a visit to a sexual health clinic – but it is of course also convenient for the NHS.’

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