Community pharmacies in England are being encouraged to register to deliver the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) from 2 September 2019 and to prepare for the service going live on 29 October 2019.
A service specification has been published by NHS England and NHS Improvement on the NHS CPCS registration page on the NHS Business Services Authority’s Manage Your Services portal, which will also host a self-assessment tool; and an NHS CPCS toolkit shortly.
Local pharmaceutical committees and national pharmacy organisations have been invited to engagement events in September to enable them to support contractors.
The new service will offer faster access for patients who will be able to see a pharmacist for a same-day consultation for minor illnesses or urgent medicines supply by calling NHS 111.
As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, the NHS is introducing an expanded clinical role for local pharmacists, beginning a revolution in patient care which could see community pharmacy becoming the first port of call for minor illness and health advice, releasing millions of GP appointments.
The new service replaces the NHS Urgent Medicines Supply Advanced Service and Digital Minor Illness Referral Service pilots which were funded by the Pharmacy Integration Fund.
It offers a consultation about minor illness or urgent medicines supply with a pharmacist at a local pharmacy, in the privacy of a consultation room.
The pharmacist will assess the patient and recommend the best treatment for the common condition or supply an urgent medicine.
If the patient’s symptoms suggest it’s more serious, the pharmacist will help them to get an urgent GP appointment if needed.
Pharmacists are being asked to use the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) website where the bespoke self-assessment tool and other online resources are available.
Continuing professional development sessions covering consultation and physical assessment skills will be available with CPPE in October.
The third year of the national Help Us Help You – Pharmacy Advice NHS marketing campaign will run from mid-February to the end of March 2020.