A Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA) is an assessment of need for pharmaceutical services in a Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) area. It is used by NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I) in its consideration of applications to join the pharmaceutical list.

A PNA considers the health needs of the population, the provision of pharmaceutical services commissioned by NHSE&I that can support health needs, and therefore whether there are any potential gaps in pharmaceutical service delivery over a 3-year period.

The PNA for County Durham links to the health needs identified in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) and the priorities in the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy (JHWS).

The key conclusion of the PNA 2022-25 is that there are sufficient pharmaceutical services across County Durham. The PNA includes information on the following:

  • The number and geographical distribution of pharmacies and dispensing GP practices in County Durham. In December 2021, there are 127 pharmacies and 13 dispensing GP practices in County Durham. These are presented in 6 localities. There are no dispensing appliance contractors in County Durham.
  • There is a good distribution of pharmaceutical services in areas of high population density, and in areas with more significant health needs (i.e. areas with a high population density of older people, and in areas of deprivation).
  • A reasonable distribution of pharmacies exists with extended and weekend opening hours in all localities.
  • Out of area pharmaceutical services do not provide a necessary dispensing service in County Durham.
  • The estimated builds of future housing developments by 2025 will not require new pharmaceutical services.
  • County Durham has 24 pharmacies per 100,000 population. This is higher than the England average of 21 per 100,000.
  • Public surveys of pharmaceutical services indicate that on average 92% of people who responded stated that they could easily access pharmaceutical services.