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PSNC to NHS: Up local funding and incentivise GPs to help CPCS rollout

PSNC: Mandating GP referrals “would demonstrate support for the service”
PSNC: Mandating GP referrals “would demonstrate support for the service”

Introducing incentives in the GP contract could potentially increase GP practices’ engagement with the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS), PSNC has told C+D.

In a blog published last month (February 26), Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) CEO Simon Dukes concluded that NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) should “mandate GPs to formally refer patients to their local pharmacies” as “there are only a few dozen practices even signed-up to make referrals into the CPCS”.

C+D has asked PSNC if it has approached NHSE&I to ask it to mandate GP referrals under the CPCS.

PSNC director of NHS services Alastair Buxton told C+D earlier this week (March 15) that mandating GP referrals “would demonstrate support for the service”.

However, “PSNC would much prefer to achieve positive engagement of practices through favourable national messaging and potentially introducing incentives in the GP contract”, he added.

Local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) and regional NHSE&I teams are “working hard to support engagement at a local level”, Mr Buxton said.

He argued that NHSE&I could support the regional rollout of this CPCS pathway by, for instance, providing “additional funding to its regions to support this work in the next financial year”.

An NHSE&I spokesperson told C+D yesterday (March 16) that funding will be considered as part of an upcoming CPCS review and that it has nothing further to add at this stage. 

“Gradual” rollout of GP referrals

GP referrals under the CPCS were enabled from November 1 last year. However, some preparatory work – involving pharmacy contractors, primary care networks and their member general practices, local NHSE&I teams and LPCs – is necessary to establish how the referrals need to be made, PSNC said in a factsheet on the GP referral pathway on its website.

Commenting on the first year of the CPCS, Mr Buxton told C+D that “increased referrals from NHS 111 would be welcomed, alongside the full rollout of the GP referral pathway to the service”.

“This would increase the value of the service to individual patients and the NHS,” he added.

The rollout of GP referrals has been “gradual due to the need for local referral pathways to be put in place first and inevitably the pandemic is distracting many general practices from considering the implementation of the pathway at this time”, Mr Buxton said.

On January 21, PSNC launched a video animation to show GP practices how they can make CPCS referrals to pharmacies, hoping to support the further rollout of this pathway.

In a primary care bulletin sent last month (February 16), NHSE&I said it decided to extend the engagement phase for GP referrals under the CPCS beyond its initial March 31 deadline to June 30.

The extension “recognises the impact of the COVID-19 vaccine programme on the ability of some areas to make progress with implementation of the pathway since its introduction as a national service on November 1, 2020”, NHSE&I said.

Pharmacy minister Jo Churchill said in a Westminster Hall debate last week (March 11) that the community pharmacies signed up to the CPCS have dealt with more than 750,000 referrals since the service launched.

However, contractors made just 60,316 claims to the NHS Business Service Authority between December 1, 2019 – the first month from which pharmacies could start claiming for CPCS referrals – and November 30, 2020, according to a freedom of information (FOI) request by C+D.

Every day this week – March 15-19 – C+D will be analysing the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) a year into its launch. Read all the coverage in the dedicated hub and join the conversation on the C+D Community.

Has your pharmacy received a CPCS GP referral yet?

sunil maini, Community pharmacist

PSNC yet again showing how they fail pharmacists.Where is funding agreement re Covid??

Meera Sharma, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

PSNC are more worried about fatting up GP pockets than achieving anything for pharmacy contractors. GPCPC is simply ridiculous.

Prafulkumar Soneji, Locum pharmacist

"GPCPC".......what is it??????

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

GP’s will not even lift a stethoscope unless they get paid

TC PA, Community pharmacist

Where does the 750,000 referral figure the minister quoted come from? I can't see how that then equates to just ~60,000 claims. Must be a large percentage rejected, or am I missing something?

V K P, Community pharmacist

What PSNC are saying is to pay the GPs to do work that they are already paid for. PSNC are now the spokes people for the GPs too. the GPs may just get incentivised due to another body pleading for them to get paid. First get the pharmacy funding corrected before trying to promote the GPs. The GPs are not paying any PSNC levies as far as i am aware.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

So - the PSNC are basically suggesting the GPs get a 'kick-back' for CPCS referrals, despite continually complaining how over worked they are? Seriously?!

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

Nothing new. They were paid to put date of birth on FP10's. I know of an instance when they were paid to move the records from ground floor to 1st floor.

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