WOMEN in Barnsley are now able to get the contraceptive pill free at their local pharmacy without needing to contact their GP first.

Community pharmacies across the area are offering the new service for the first time, increasing choice for women in the ways in which they can access contraception.

Anyone needing the pill can access it through participating pharmacies without a referral from their GP, though they can be referred by their general practice or sexual health clinic.

The pharmacist will offer a confidential consultation and reach a shared decision with the person about their first supply of the pill, or the ongoing supply of their current oral contraception.

Dr David Crichton, Medical Officer at NHS South Yorkshire said: “This is really good news for women across South Yorkshire. This service will provide them with greater choice in obtaining contraception and advice in the way that best meets their needs. We know that we all live increasingly busy lives, and this service offers convenience in obtaining the pill. Rather than making a GP appointment, they can simply pop into their local pharmacy when they need or want to access contraception”.

“Pharmacists are experts in medicines and perfectly placed to provide relevant health checks and ongoing support for women accessing contraception. The care and support people receive from their local pharmacy is highly valued by patients and so it is essential we use the skills and convenience of community pharmacies to make it as easy as possible for people to get the help they need."

The aim of the Pharmacy Contraception Service (PCS) is to offer people greater choice and access when considering starting or continuing their current form of oral contraception. The service supports the important role community pharmacy teams can play to help address health inequalities by providing wider healthcare access in their communities and signposting service users to local sexual health.

People can use the NHS website to find a pharmacy that offers the contraceptive pill for free and will not need to see a doctor or nurse for a prescription by visiting here