The next stage of NHS England's Digital Minor Illness Referral Service (DMIRS) pilot sees GPs refer patients with low acuity conditions – such as rashes, constipation and vaginal discharge – directly to community pharmacies via online triage systems.
The first pilot sites – in the Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cumbria and Greater Manchester areas – were confirmed last month.
Two additional regions have now been added to the pilot, with pharmacies in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire able to offer the service from this month, while pharmacies in West Yorkshire are being invited to pilot the service from September 2, according to the service level agreements published last Friday (July 5).
Pharmacies will trial the service until March 31, 2020 and, following an evaluation, it “will be commissioned as a local enhanced service under the terms of the community pharmacy contractual framework”, the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) said.
The scheme is supported by a portion of the £300 million Pharmacy Integration Fund, set aside by the Department of Health and Social Care in May 2016.
Pharmacies will receive £14 for each consultation completed following a GP referral – the same amount received for completing referrals from NHS111 – and patients will not be charged for the consultation, the NHS BSA added.
NHS England estimates that 6% of all GP consultations – 20.4 million appointments per year – could be safely transferred to a community pharmacist if the service is rolled out nationally.