The service has seen 114,275 patients with minor illnesses or in need or urgent medicines supply in England referred by NHS 111 for a consultation with a community pharmacist since its launch on October 29, the DH announced on Sunday (January 12).
National Pharmacy Association (NPA) chief executive Mark Lyonette said the service shows the NHS has “recognised the potential to make greater use of the skills of community pharmacists in urgent care”.
“Pharmacists are an indispensable component of the urgent care pathway, the first port-of-call for advice on minor illnesses, as well as a vital support for people with long-term medical conditions,” he said.
The NPA will work with the NHS to ensure that implementation of the service is “widespread and effective”, Mr Lyonette added.
Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) – which represents the largest pharmacy multiples – said the impact of the service has been “significant”, and the latest figures “show how community pharmacy is becoming an integral part of the urgent care system”.
Mr Harrison congratulated pharmacy teams who have worked hard to make the service a “success for patients, the public and the NHS”, and said the CCA would “like to continue to build on these great results”.
RPS: Pharmacies need “time and support”
The data from the first two months of the CPCS shows that pharmacy can play a “vital role” supporting GPs and urgent care, Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) English board chair Claire Anderson said.
It is important pharmacists “get the time and support” they need to deliver a “quality service” for patients, Professor Anderson said.
“Amid growing pressure on the NHS, it’s crucial the government invests in pharmacist to help people stay healthy and out of hospital.”
The RPS is “looking forward” to the service being expanding to include referrals from other parts of the health service following a “positive response” from the public and policymakers, Professor Anderson added.
AIMp: Members should capture referral data
It is “encouraging to see that community pharmacists have embraced [the] CPCS”, Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) chief executive Leyla Hannbeck commented.
She emphasised that having relevant information is “always useful to see how the service is progressing”, and said AIMp encourages its members to capture referral data and feed back positive experiences of the service.
“With the right funding and encouragement, community pharmacists can be a strong pillar to rely on to deliver clinical services,” Ms Hannbeck added.
Watch Andre Yeung, one of the architects behind the pilot that inspired the CPCS, answer pharmacists’ questions about the service in last's month C+D webinar (skip to 8.45 minutes for the start of the Q&A):