The Pharmacy First Service – commissioned by Liverpool clinical commissioning group (CCG) – will serve as an extension to the Care at the Chemist provision already in place in Liverpool, which sees pharmacists provide treatment for “minor illnesses” such as athlete's foot, oral thrush and scabies.
From April 1, additional patient group directions (PGDs) will allow pharmacists in the area to prescribe medication for uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) in non-pregnant adult women and bacterial sore throat and conjunctivitis in children under the age of two, David Barker, Liverpool local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) engagement officer, confirmed to C+D.
He anticipates at least 120 local pharmacies to take part in the service.
The LPC saw the CPCS – and especially the addition of GP referrals to the scheme in November – as a “great launchpad” for this extended pharmacy service, Mr Barker said.
This is a “massive opportunity” for community pharmacy to “go that extra mile”, he added.
“We had seen through the pandemic the impact on footfall on community pharmacy – particularly Care at the Chemist and supervised consumption, where footfall dramatically took a nosedive for contractors,” he said.
As community pharmacy has “moved to a more services-based model now”, Mr Baker added, the new service is “about saving [GPs] appointments for simple things”.
Mr Baker said pharmacies would receive their standard Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) fee – £14 per completed referral – as well as a Care at the Chemist fee for the work, but would not reveal an exact figure.
Mr Baker stressed this new service in Liverpool would be free for patients.