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CPCS: Surge in number of GPs referring to pharmacies after incentives

The number of GP practices with the capability of making Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) referrals grew by a staggering 463% in just seven months, according to figures shared by England’s chief pharmaceutical officer David Webb.

As of October 14 last year, just 800 GP practices were signed up to make referrals to pharmacies under the service, which prompted NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) to encourage all practices to sign up to the service by December 1.

Practices were told they could access a share of the winter fund only if they signed up to the GP CPCS.

 

Read more: Suspend CPCS, overhaul commissioning – what sector bodies want from Sajid Javid’s pharmacy reforms

 

Speaking at the Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies (AIMp) conference is Sutton Coldfield yesterday, Mr Webb revealed that, as of May this year, 4,503 GP practices were signed up to refer patients to community pharmacies under the CPCS, representing about 68% of the GP sector.

“General practice has already become the highest volume referral pathway to the CPCS,” he reiterated.

Community pharmacies are now receiving up to “7,000 referrals per week”, a number that is continuing to grow, Mr Webb said.

 

Numbers of completed CPCS referrals

 

As of May this year, pharmacies had completed 213,043 minor illness referrals from GPs under the service since October 2019, the slides showed, while 1,266,003 referrals from NHS 111 – for minor illnesses and urgent medicines supply – were completed in the same period.

“It’s an amazing achievement by everyone involved,” Mr Webb said.

Uptake of the service “is dependent upon local relationships”, he said, and “has been led effectively by the local pharmaceutical committees” in many areas.

 

Updates on other pharmacy services

 

Mr Webb also shared the achievements of community pharmacy in the rollout of other services, such as the hypertension case-finding service.

The progress of this “so far is very impressive”, he said.

C+D reported last month that community pharmacies had completed 115,419 blood pressure checks on patients within six months of the service launching.

“Increasing attention is going to be paid into using this service to address the health inequalities experienced by the 20% most deprived individuals in our populations,” Mr Webb said.

 

Read more: Pharmacy smoking cessation service set for slow start, PSNC anticipates

 

“We do want more pharmacies to sign up to make this a universal offer.”

As for the smoking cessation service, Mr Webb shared that 2,100 pharmacies had registered to deliver it as of March this year.

Speaking more widely, Mr Webb stated it is “crucial” that pharmacy teams “build the uptake of clinical services so they are being done at scale”.

 

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