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Number of CPCS referrals to community pharmacies hits 7,000 per week

Around 7,000 Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) referrals make their way into community pharmacies every week, according to England's new chief pharmaceutical officer David Webb.

Speaking at the Clinical Pharmacy Congress last week (May 13), Mr Webb told delegates that general practice “has already become the highest volume referral pathway” to the CPCS.

However, the Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies reported last month that the number of GP CPCS referrals continues to be low, and suggested the introduction of a patient navigation tool to boost numbers.


Read more: Pharmacies carry out 75k blood pressure checks in just over 7 months


Earlier this year, some local pharmaceutical committee chiefs told C+D that the number of GP CPCS referrals in their areas was slowly increasing but that the COVID-19 booster jab programme and poor IT systems were hampering progress.

C+D has approached NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) for more information about the figure shared by Mr Webb.


Pilots underway


During his address, Mr Webb shared further updates on ongoing clinical service pilots in community pharmacies.

He referred to a pilot expanding the CPCS to include referrals from urgent and emergency care settings, which is expected to come to an end on September 30.

NHSE&I is carrying out more pilots in the south west and north east of England on a “technical development to enable referrals to CPCS for minor illness from 111 online”, he told delegates.

Meanwhile, in Nottingham, a pilot is ongoing to “to develop a maternity pathway to the community pharmacy smoking cessation service”, he said.


Read more: Independent prescribing one of new England pharmacy chief’s main priorities


Mr Webb referred to one pilot, which expands the new medicine service to include depression, as a “a fully integrated pathway and to explore the role of pharmacy technician”.

“It’s hugely positive to see the growing confidence everyone has in community pharmacy, with more pharmacy integration programme pilots already underway and several more in the pipeline,” Mr Webb said.

“The pilots… are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of opportunity while independent prescribing becomes mainstream.

“Where we currently have to operate under patient group directions, pharmacist prescribers will be able to offer an entire acute service, which will be much more convenient and accessible for patients,” he added.


Read more: England CPhO: NHS ‘doing all we can’ to address pharmacy workforce pressures

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