GP referrals to community pharmacy begin this month

From this month, the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) is being extended across England to include referrals from GPs as well as from NHS 111. 

GP practices will be able to choose to take part and refer patients for a same day consultation with a community pharmacist for minor illness. After receiving a secure digital referral, pharmacists will contact the patient to arrange an appointment. Pharmacies already registered to provide the CPCS do not need to re-register for the service, which will rollout over the next few months.

RPS is the main training partner for the scheme, providing a programme of CPD in partnership with the Royal College of GPs. Already over 1,000 pharmacists have booked for sessions to update their skills in conducting effective patient consultations and clinical assessments for a range of common minor illnesses.

Robbie Turner, RPS Director of Pharmacy and Member Experience said: "This new referral route will further embed pharmacists into urgent care pathways and help improve the care of patients presenting with minor illnesses. It also provides the basis for further collaboration with local GPs.

“The pilots for the pathway proved to be safe, effective and popular with patients, who liked the scheme’s quick access to a pharmacist who could provide expert advice. We are proud to be part of the preferred training partnership programme, which enables pharmacists to develop their clinical knowledge and build confidence in working with GPs and other health professionals.”

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The RCGP looks forward to the launch of the GP Community Pharmacist Consultation Service. It will open a new channel for patients to access consultation services and further strengthen relationships between community pharmacists and other primary care practitioners.

"Community pharmacists already offer a huge amount of support for GPs and our teams - this programme should further alleviate the pressures being felt in general practice, while providing patients with convenient and safe health advice.”

Sign up for Clinical Consultation skills CPD from RPS & RCGP