DoH plans to improve Pill access

The contraceptive Pill could be made available from pharmacists without a prescription, under plans announced by health minister Lord Darzi.

Under a pilot scheme, to start next year, women will be able to have a private consultation with a pharmacist where any health risks will be assessed before the Pill is given out for free.

If the pilot scheme proves to be successful, the Pill could become available at pharmacists throughout England.

Lord Darzi said: ‘It is right that pharmacists and nurses play a greater role in the provision of healthcare, but it is wrong to suggest that this is a move to make the contraceptive pill available over the counter.

‘What we might pilot is a process before supplying the pill under arrangements equivalent to prescribing.

‘At this stage there is no commitment to roll this out and we will need a full evaluation before we do.’

A DoH spokesperson added: ‘There is no change to government policy; we have no plans to make oral contraception available over the counter.

‘However, we recognise that pharmacies could play an increased role in the provision of contraception and other sexual health services because of their accessibility and convenient opening hours.

‘But no sites have been selected yet and we are still very much at the planning stage.’

Department of Health

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