What is it?
The NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) is a nationally commissioned and funded advanced service that was launched in community pharmacies in England in October 2019. Electronic referrals from NHS 111 were made to community pharmacies for patients with a minor illness or those needing an urgent supply of medicine. A pathway to expand this to general practice was piloted by NHS England and Improvement in 2019-20, and was agreed as a secure pathway from 1st November 2020 under the name GP CPCS.
How does it work?
General practices can use this pathway to electronically refer patients with minor illnesses or low acuity conditions to a community pharmacist for a consultation. This is done in a consultation room or remotely, and is not a conversation over the counter.
Benefits of GP CPCS:
Referring patients to community pharmacists through GP CPCS will help ensure patients are provided with the right care by the right person at a time most convenient to them. This will increase capacity within general practice for the treatment of patients with higher acuity needs, both now and post pandemic. It is estimated that this greater use of pharmacists’ expertise could result in 6% of all consultations being safely transferred through GP CPCS (approx. 10,500 patients per week) which could save the NHS around £20 million.
Through GP CPCS patients will be able to choose their preferred community pharmacy for the consultation, which will help empower local populations to know the most appropriate healthcare service for their future needs. This service will also improve access to primary care through more effective use of existing resource, capacity, and expertise within the system.