CPCS Frequently Asked Questions

CPCS Frequently Asked Questions

November 16, 2019

With the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) now bedding in, below you will find a selection of questions about the service which PSNC has been asked by LPCs and pharmacy teams over the last few weeks.

View all our frequently asked questions on the CPCS


Q. Will there be a training programme for CPCS?
As announced in the 5-year CPCF agreement, NHSE&I and Health Education England will use funding (c. £2m) from the Pharmacy Integration Fund to commission continuing professional development sessions for pharmacists related to the CPCS. This training will build on the CPD already delivered in the DMIRS pilot areas. While it is not mandatory to undertake, PSNC recommends that pharmacists do participate in the training in 2020/21, as it will help them to undertake effective consultations, communications and clinical assessments. The CPD sessions will have a particular focus on identifying red flags, referring appropriately to the wider NHS network, if needed and effective patient follow-up.

Q. I want to undertake the CPCS CPD training in 2019/20 but I haven’t been able to get a place on a training course. Will I miss out on this completely?
No. CPPE are running some training across England this year, which builds on the programme they ran in the DMIRS pilot areas. This training is the forerunner to a major roll out of training in 2020/21. Health Education England are currently procuring this programme (November 2019) with funding from the Pharmacy Integration Fund. This training will be made available to all pharmacists that want to access it in 2020/21.

Q. I have received an urgent medicine supply referral for a patient, however their GP practice is still open. What is the best way to proceed?
Patients should be advised to contact the GP practice if this is practically the most appropriate option to obtain their medicine or appliance. This may not be possible if, for example, the patient is away from home and unable to access their GP practice or where the GP practice will not be able to issue a prescription in a timely manner, such that the patient can get that prescription dispensed in time for their next required dose of the medicine. The pharmacist will need to assess each individual request and the circumstances of the patient to determine whether it is appropriate to make a supply via the CPCS.

Q. Can I refer patients to NHS 111 to access the minor illness strand of the CPCS?
No. Patients presenting in the pharmacy seeking self-care advice should be dealt with using the normal pharmacy procedures, in line with the requirements set out in the Support for self-care service.

Q. Can I refer patients to NHS 111 to access the urgent supply strand of the CPCS?
Yes, in certain circumstances. If a patient requests an emergency supply from a pharmacy and the request meets the requirements of the Human Medicines Regulations and the pharmacist believes it is appropriate to make a supply, but the patient cannot pay for the emergency supply as a private service and it is also not practicable for them to obtain a prescription from their general practice before they next need a dose of the medicine, it may in those circumstances be appropriate to refer the patient to NHS 111. The patient should be advised to call NHS 111 so the call adviser can determine the most appropriate course of action for the patient, which may include offering them a referral to the CPCS or potentially an appointment with the GP OOH service.

Q. I have received a minor illness referral while my pharmacy was closed. Is this a mistake by NHS 111?
Probably not, as the NHS Pathways system that guides the conversation between the NHS 111 call adviser and the patient may identify that the best course of action is for the patient to speak to a primary care professional, such as a pharmacist, within a few days, rather than immediately.

Q. I have received a referral that says the patient needs to see a GP within 72 hours. Is this an incorrect referral from NHS 111?
Generally, no. The disposition names used in DoS and the NHS Pathways system can sometimes look like they are not appropriate referrals to community pharmacy, but despite some of the names/descriptors, they have all been clinically assessed as being appropriate for referral to and management in community pharmacy. Pharmacists should therefore deal with these CPCS referrals as they would any others.
Where a pharmacist believes an inappropriate referral has been made, this should be reported via the incident report form which can be found in Sonar and PharmOutcomes.



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