NHS Choices is the main patient facing website of the NHS. The website provides patients with public health information alongside details of common medical conditions and treatment options. The site also provides information about individual healthcare providers including community pharmacists.
Pharmacy contractors are able to upload a profile of their pharmacy and edit the information that is displayed. Information that is included on each contractor page can include:
- Pharmacy opening hours
- Contact details- address, telephone and fax numbers
- Map and directions
- Staff members
- Facilities such as car parking or toilets
- Services provided in the pharmacy e.g. MUR, NMS, EHC or smoking cessation
The site also provides a portal for patients to leave feedback about the pharmacy.
Pharmacy contractors can either use their NHS Choices page as their main pharmacy website or pharmacies with an existing website can hyperlink to their site from NHS Choices.
Maintaining the accuracy of the information on your pharmacies NHS Choices page provides a valuable marketing opportunity as the NHS Choices website is visited more than 48 million times every month.
How to register for management rights
Pharmacy contractors can register for management or web editing rights of their NHS Choices page by completing an online registration form (www.nhs.uk/web-editor).
The editing rights can be either:
- Web Editor - this allows the contractor to amend or update the editable information on their pharmacy profile.
- Comment administrator - this allows the contractor to respond to patient feedback posted on the pharmacy page.
These roles can be assigned to the same or different members of staff within the pharmacy; each role can also be assigned to more than one member of staff.
How to update information
Registration as a web editor will enable you to update the information on your pharmacy profile. Once registration is completed NHS Choices will send contractors an email detailing their log in details.
Once contractors have received their log in details they can access and edit their NHS Choices pharmacy profile.
To update their page contractors should:
- Access the NHS Choices site (www.nhs.uk)
- Click the ” log in” button at the top right hand corner of the page and enter the username and password.
- Select the pharmacy profile that you want to edit from the list displayed.
- The administrative screen will be displayed- pages that can be edited will be clearly marked with an “edit” button.
- Clicking the edit button will allow editable fields to be amended, clicking “save” will ensure all changes are saved.
- If all details are correct and do not need editing click the “confirm” button to validate the page as accurate.
All information that is changed will be visible in its updated format immediately. Each confirmed change will update the “last verified” date and this date will be used to evidence compliance with the gateway criteria.
A guide is available to download from NHS Choices to support pharmacists making changes to their pharmacy profile.
Key points to consider
Changing the contact module - Contractors wishing to change the contact module, i.e. pharmacy name or address, should request their local NHS England Area Team to make the necessary changes.
Changing opening hours - pharmacy opening hours displayed on NHS Choices should be the current contract opening hours. Changes to opening hours can only be made after giving at least 90 days’ notice to the local NHS England Regional team, for supplementary hours, or applying to NHS England for core hours.
Services offered - template service descriptions are included to facilitate updating the pharmacy profile.
Pharmacy services are designated into three categories:
- Pharmacy service - includes advanced services and other services that are useful for patients to know about.
- Pharmacy Service (NHS) - including services commissioned by local authorities and CCG.
- Pharmacy Service (Non-NHS) - including private or patient funded services.
Pharmacies can include details of private and NHS services provided within the pharmacy but must clearly indicate services provided with NHS funding.
Facilities information - there are currently two categories of facilities:
- Accessibility - including signing service, wheelchair access, step free access, braille translation service, disabled toilet, induction loop, RNID Typetalk.
- Parking - car parking and/or disabled parking.
Pharmacy contractors can select each of the facilities available within their pharmacy for display on their NHS Choices profile.
Patient feedback - patients can leave feedback about the pharmacy on the pharmacy NHS Choices page. Contractors should recognise that this feedback could be either positive or negative. The comment administrator role will enable contractors to respond to such comments.
Used effectively NHS Choices can be an effective marketing tool for the pharmacy enabling patients looking for pharmacy services in a particular area to be signposted to your pharmacy.
 PSNC accessed at http://psnc.org.uk/contract-it/pharmacy-it/nhs-choices/.