We've, along with Royal College of GPs, published a series of recommendations on the roll-out of the GP Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (GP CPCS).
This follows a workshop which brought together colleagues from across pharmacy and general practice, including frontline staff and representative bodies, to examine how to maximise the potential of GP CPCS to manage growing demand on the health service.
The workshop report makes five recommendations:
1. Additional investment in local system project management support and resources to drive CPCS implementation.
2. Streamlining referral pathways to make it easier for patients and staff.
3. Engagement and communications to support uptake of CPCS, aligned with wider public messaging on primary care.
4. Expanding the role of community pharmacists in the management of minor illness.
5. Evaluation of CPCS service and its impacts on general practice workload, patient outcomes and health inequalities.
Thorrun Govind, RPS England Chair, said: “The Community Pharmacist Consultation Service is just one example of how we can use the skills of teams across community pharmacy, general practice and the wider NHS to help patients see the right clinician at the right time.
“When calling for a roundtable earlier this year I acknowledged the huge benefits for collaboration between General Practice and community pharmacy, not just for patient care. The last year in particular has been incredibly challenging wherever we work in healthcare.
“With continued pressures on teams across the health service, we really wanted to hear from healthcare colleagues as to how we can make the most of new services like the CPCS.
“We know there are challenges to getting this right and it is fantastic that some of the recommendations are already being discussed with the NHS and other key partners as to how we can work together to achieve the best outcomes for patients.”
Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs and our teams are working harder than ever right now, delivering care to a growing number of patients with increasingly complex health conditions, without a sufficient workforce to meet demand.
“The Community Pharmacist Consultation Service is potentially a part of the solutions to these intense pressures, so we need it to be a success.
“Pharmacists are highly-trained and highly-trusted healthcare professionals, who can play a vital role in supporting people with a range of minor ailments, freeing up GPs’ time for patients with complex health needs.
“With these recommendations, including support for implementation such as investment in the technology and project management required, and enhanced communication of the service to patients, we hope the service can help alleviate pressures in general practice and the wider NHS, as well as improving patient access to care and outcomes.”
Read the report.
Read more RPS news.