The NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) was launched on 29 October 2019 and to date, over 10,500 patients a week have been referred for a confidential consultation with a pharmacist following a call to NHS 111. The national service was expanded on 1 November 2020 to include the GP referral pathway to CPCS for minor illness. Patients contacting their GP for an appointment for minor illness symptoms are offered a same-day consultation with a community pharmacist.
The purpose of developing this GP referral pathway is three-fold:
- To alleviate the pressure on General Practice by referring patients needing advice and treatment for specific low acuity conditions from a GP practice to a Community Pharmacist
- For Pharmacy to further integrate within Primary Care and strengthen relationships between General Practice and Pharmacy
- For patients to be seen by the right healthcare professional at the right time
At a time of increased pressure, when practices are beginning to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine, this greater use of pharmacists’ expertise can help practices manage their workload, improve access to primary care for patients and free up thousands of GP appointments for those patients with higher acuity needs. Further information is available on FutureNHS and you can also read about the pilot of GP referral pathway in the South West.
Implementation of the GP referral pathway will be regionally led and aligned with the Primary Care Improving Access programme, with a nominated NHS England and NHS Improvement implementation lead working with PCNs, GPs and practice teams, LMCs, LPCs and community pharmacists.
To inform the regional implementation plan, we would like to assess the current levels of interest, capacity and readiness for the programme. Please complete the short survey by clicking here which we will also use to identify those PCNs and GP practices that will be supported to be early adopter sites in London. NHSE will be hosting a series of webinars with further information, to follow.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via England.Lon-GPCPCS@NHS.net