COUNTY Durham GP practices can now refer patients to their local NHS community pharmacist via the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS).
The service will enable GP practices to refer patients for a same day personal appointment to their local NHS community pharmacist for advice and treatment for a range of minor illness conditions.
The resource aims to improve access for patients to more rapid and convenient consultations by making use of community pharmacists’ knowledge and skills and help relieve pressure on the wider NHS.
The NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) has been managing referrals for minor illness conditions since October 2019, via NHS 111, with an extension of the service in November 2020 to include referrals from GP Practices.
Kate Huddart, Head of Medicines Optimisation, NHS County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “This service is a great way to raise awareness about the knowledge that pharmacists have.
“The NHS GP CPCS is about making sure patients receive the right care, in the right place, with the right person and at the right time.
“NHS Community pharmacists are clinically skilled healthcare professionals who can deal with minor conditions and help free up GP time for more serious medical concerns.”
NHS Community pharmacists have already successfully seen thousands of patients for a consultation for a minor illness, following a call to NHS 111 with over 340,000 referrals since October 2019.
This new way of arranging personal consultations with the pharmacist by a GP practice, has been successfully piloted around the county.
The patient may be seen in person in a private consultation room, if the pharmacist thinks it appropriate, or the consultation may be carried out over the phone or via video. After the consultation a summary will be sent to the patients registered GP Practice to ensure that records are kept up to date.
“The service will be influential in changing the patient attitude to consider pharmacy as the first port of call for their healthcare needs,” added Kate.
“It will allow GP practices to free up capacity and focus on those patients who have more complex needs and help to support wider healthcare in a more efficient way.”