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.