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Yorkshire pharmacists to deliver £150k urgent medication service

Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire has secured CCG funding for the weekend supply of emergency repeats to patients referred by NHS 111, C+D has learned.


Pharmacists in West Yorkshire have received £150,000 to provide urgent repeat medication through the NHS 111 service, C+D has learned.

Under the scheme, which will launch by the end of November, patients who call NHS 111 when they run out of medicines at the weekend will be directed to one of 40 local pharmacies instead of an out-of-hours GP, according to Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire (CPWY), which secured the funding.

The Pharmacy Urgent Repeat Medication Service (PURM) would free up GPs to deal with ill patients – reducing A&E admissions – and provide a platform to deliver more urgent care services in future, CPWY chief executive Robbie Turner told C+D last week (November 3).

Ten clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) had agreed to pay for the service with NHS funding after a successful trial in two CCGs during the Tour de France earlier this year, Mr Turner said.

The money for the service will only last until April 2015 but Mr Turner said he hoped that, by impressing commissioners and patients, the scheme would become "business as usual" for the area.

"It's right that pharmacy is the first port of call. We think 40 is around the right number [of pharmacies] for this service. Rather than building the number, we'll build on the services that these pharmacies offer out of hours," Mr Turner told C+D.

Pharmacist Caroline Stead from Eye Pharmacy in Mirfield – which will deliver the service – said it provided an opportunity for staff to talk to patients about managing their repeat medications.

An NHS 111 referral – which will be emailed to a pharmacy along with the patient's contact details – would give pharmacists more information about patients than they currently receive when dispensing emergency supplies, Ms Stead said. The pharmacy could then call the patient and, if appropriate, invite them to the pharmacy to collect their medicines, she said.

"That referral is pretty much immediate. [Patients don't] have to wait for a doctor's consultation [and] for them to fax us the prescription to then dispense it, so it's more reliable in that way," she told C+D on Friday (November 7).

Last year, NHS England called for community pharmacy to be incorporated into the NHS 111 service so the "untapped potential" of the profession could be exploited.

In October, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society announced it would call for pharmacy to play a greater role in emergency care in England, as part of its planned campaign to draw attention to the sector.

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