PSNC Pharmacy Advice Audit

PSNC Pharmacy Advice Audit

2021 Pharmacy Advice Audit

Early in 2021, 5,830 community pharmacies took part in a PSNC audit to try to quantify the number of informal patient consultations happening in their pharmacy. The pharmacies recorded all consultations over one day (or for however long it took them to reach 20  consultations). The pharmacies carried out the audit between 25 January and 12 February 2021 and between them they recorded data on 114,898 patient consultations. Advice following the dispensing of a prescription, along with formal referrals from the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service, were not included.

The audit enabled PSNC to measure the reliance that the public has had on pharmacies through the COVID-19 pandemic, and the additional pressure that this has put on pharmacy teams. This data will help demonstrate the sector’s value to the public and the NHS and support PSNC’s negotiations with HM Government.

Key findings

Key findings included:

  • On average, pharmacies undertake 17 consultation per day / 1,125,540 consultations per week / more than 58 million per year.
  • Each week, just under 130,000 informal referrals from General Practice and NHS11 are received into pharmacy.
  • Every week pharmacies provided advice to over 730,000 people (nearly 38 million people per year) seeking advice for symptoms.
  • Every week pharmacies provide advice to over 263,000 people (13.6 million people per year) seeking advice about an existing medical condition.
  • On average, each consultation took just over 5 minutes – this means 90 minutes per day are spent providing these clinical consultations.
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of the pharmacy consultations also included advice and support related to COVID-19 and these consultations took on average 20% longer than a non-COVID-19 consultation.
  • If the community pharmacy had not been there, 50% of patients reported they would have visited their GP, resulting in an additional 74 appointments in each GP practice each week in England.
  • An additional 70,000 people (3.3. million people per year) would go to A&E or an NHS walk-in centre every week if they could not get advice from their pharmacy.

Further details can be found here:

News story – Pharmacies in England carry out 58 million consultations a year

Full audit findings – PSNC Pharmacy Advice Audit 2021: Full Report


PSNC has produced a summary, infographic and social media assets to make it easier to share the audit findings.

PSNC Pharmacy Advice Audit 2021: A summary of findings

Infographic aimed at MPs: Community Pharmacy Consultations Update

Social media tiles: (click to enlarge, right-click to save image)




Summer 2020 Pharmacy Advice Audit

In June and July 2020 more than 9,400 pharmacies in England took part in PSNC’s audit of the informal patient consultations that happen in community pharmacy – these are consultations happening outside the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) or any other commissioned services.

Key findings

Over a single day, pharmacies recorded a total of 198,043 patient consultations, which revealed that:

  • The average staff time per consultation was just over 5 minutes;
  • Around 10% (approx. 20,900) of the consultations were initiated with the non-pharmacist and referred to the pharmacist – this meant for longer total consultation times;
  • Consultations initiated with a pharmacist took an average of 5.3 minutes pharmacist time;
  • Consultations initiated with a non-pharmacist took an average of 4 minutes, with 19% referred to the community pharmacist where on average a further 4.3 minutes was spent with the patient; and
  • Around 75 minutes per day, per pharmacy, is spent providing these consultations.

Resources on the audit findings

PSNC Pharmacy Advice Audit – Full Report
A complete report containing all results and analysis of the data gathered as part of the Pharmacy Advice Audit.

PSNC Briefing 027/20: Summary of the findings from PSNC’s Pharmacy Advice Audit
A summary of the findings from the Pharmacy Advice Audit run by PSNC in June and July 2020.

Clinical Advice in Community Pharmacies: Findings from a national audit
A PowerPoint presentation making use of the findings from the PSNC Pharmacy Advice Audit to showcase community pharmacy’s value to key stakeholders.

A one-page infographic featuring the key statistics from the audit findings. Three version are available to download and use.

Image Infographic: Community Pharmacy Consultations (JPG)

A4 Digital Infographic: Community Pharmacy Consultations

A4 Print Infographic: Community Pharmacy Consultations

Social media tiles (click to enlarge, right-click to save image)

Latest Contract & IT news

View more Contract & IT news >

PhAS 2022 webinar now on-demand

PSNC’s webinar on the updated 2022 Pharmacy Access Scheme (PhAS) is now available on-demand. Nearly 90% of attendees said they...