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Pharmacies to receive patient referrals direct from GPs in NHS pilot

NHS England: The pilot follows the success of pharmacy referrals from NHS 111
NHS England: The pilot follows the success of pharmacy referrals from NHS 111

GPs will be able to refer patients directly to pharmacies as part of an NHS England pilot later this year, the commissioning body has said.

The “pharmacy connection scheme” referred to in NHS England’s long-term plan, published on Monday (January 7), would be set up by clinical commissioning groups for “patients who don’t need primary medical services”, it said in the document.

When asked by C+D for more details of the scheme, NHS England said it is working with pharmacies, GP surgeries and commissioners on a direct referral pilot from GP practices to community pharmacies, which will launch later this year in sites across England, it told C+D yesterday (January 8).

The pilot follows the success of pharmacy referrals from NHS 111 under NHS England’s Community Pharmacy Referral Service, which it first trialled in Durham, Darlington, Tees, Northumberland, and Tyne and Wear in 2017. The scheme went on to win a C+D Award the following year.

The “pharmacy connection scheme” pilot will be supported by the Pharmacy Integration Fund, £300 million set aside by the Department of Health and Social Care in May 2016 to be invested over five years.

If the pilot is successful, NHS England would look to roll the scheme out across the country, it said.

Would you like to receive patient referrals direct from GPs?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Does someone at NHS England not look at trials like this and think? Is this actually achieving anything? It is quintessentially triage. Like said earlier, it is an overglorified way of saying:

"Go to the pharmacy for that."

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

in other words, the GPs wont see them for £18  a throw, but we will sort them out for free

Career Miss Take, Locum pharmacist

Very true Kevin. And for the services we do provide we get scutinised over ie murs

Tired Manager, Community pharmacist

This happens around the country on a daily basis already... "no appointments today, go and see your local pharmacist". Now I'm sure there will just be some fancy paperwork attached to make it more "official"

Career Miss Take, Locum pharmacist

More paper work for a derisory renumeration

If our OTC advice were to be officially recorded I wonder if we would need extra indemnity cover if what we suggest turns out to be wrong? 

SIMON MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

Never mind indemnity - what about the extra costs and time required to record everything - that’s not going to be covered by 30p profit on a pack of paracetamol 

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