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CPCS is 'route map' for sector's future, says ex-pharmacy minister

Steve Brine: Medicine shortages continue to be a pressing issue for pharmacy
Steve Brine: Medicine shortages continue to be a pressing issue for pharmacy

The Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) provides a “route map for many better things” for the sector, former pharmacy minister Steve Brine has said.

Mr Brine – who served as pharmacy minister from June 2017 until his resignation from the government in March – “championed” establishing the “first-ever national triage service into community pharmacy”, he told delegates at the Sigma Pharmaceuticals conference in London earlier this month (December 1).

He explained that he “passionately believes” the CPCS – which sees pharmacies receive £14 for each consultation they complete following an NHS 111 referral for minor illnesses and urgent medicines supply – “provides a route map to...many better things for community pharmacy in the future”.

“It’s important for everyone involved that we make this service a success,” Mr Brine stressed.

Watch C+D's Q&A session with Andre Yeung, one of the architects behind the pilot that inspired the CPCS.

Shortages are “pressing issue”

The former pharmacy minister – whose comments were embargoed until after the general election – also used his address to flag the “pressing issue” of medicines availability.

He praised C+D’s medicines shortages investigation earlier this year – which identified that pharmacy staff experienced shortages across all 36 categories of medicines and highlighted the impact the situation is having on increasing stress levels and pharmacy workload.

“We know shortages of medicines is becoming an increasingly frequent issue that seriously hinders pharmacy teams’ efforts to dispense medicines in a timely manner to their patients,” Mr Brine said.

While the government has introduced measures to help combat medicine shortages, Mr Brine said he is “very sure the system could do much, much more”.

“Pharmacists – and through them, patients – ought to receive much better information about the reasons for medication shortages, because I know delays are hitting patient confidence and I know you find that very frustrating,” Mr Brine told conference attendees.

However, he stressed that he did not believe this is “a Brexit issue”, and said he “expects [medicines shortages] to be a real issue when parliament returns”.

What do you make of Mr Brine's comments?

R A, Community pharmacist

In 2006 when the "new deal" commenced community pharmacy had died. For the last 14 years every major stakeholders have failed to provide a tangible alternative sustainable model for community pharmacy! Why?

For all intents and purpose the main USP of pharmacy is the sale, supply and advice related to medication. When the goverment cuts funding, GSL medication is widely available at places other than pharmacy sector and the rise of internet pharmacy, its clear why community pharmacy is a sinking ship. 

£14 per consultation? A private GP without the tests would charge you the privlige of £60 for this service. Only a fool would agree to any of this. However the sector has passively gone along with the goverments plan for the last 14 years just like Turkeys voting for Christmas.

V K P, Community pharmacist

it is a route map to exploiting the pharmacy workforce especially the pharmacist. shall i elaborate how?

1) resource exploitation - not being funded to appropriate value for the support that we are affording the system with

2) liabilities- they have very easily and cheekily passed on the liability to the pharmacy when they are well aware that our indemnities dont cover diagnosising and triaging. when there is harm to a patient and they sue the GP, the BMA will very happily drop us in to share the compensation bill but have never shared the gains. Neither the respectable ex-pharmacy minister nor the PSNC have shown any appreciation to the workforce capacity that pharmacy has supported the system with, nor have they shown any value to our time and effort. 

the PSNC should swap the pharmaceutical in the title to clinical and charge levies from the GP practices in 2020. CSNC- clinical services negotiationg committee. brilliant. they can then quarrel with BMA. atleast the GPs know where they have better gains.

Dave Downham, Manager

If CPCS is a route map, I suggest that someone invests in a SatNav for 111 staff.

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

Even though no idea if it's a success at all. Typical 'make it up as you go along' community pharmacy.

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