Providing CPCS: A Pharmacist’s Perspective

Providing CPCS: A Pharmacist’s Perspective

January 8, 2020

Ten weeks have now passed since the launch of the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS), covering one of the busiest times of the year for the NHS. We spoke to one of the early adopters – Siobhán Boyce, Pharmacy Manager and Superintendent Pharmacist at Bewick Pharmacy in County Durham – to find out what changes it has brought to her pharmacy and its local community.

Making a difference

Since the service began Bewick Pharmacy has had a few referrals each month, with many of those patients waiting to be seen when the pharmacy opens at 8.30am. So far, most of these have been referred for the minor illness strand, but this is likely to be due to the local arrangements already in place for the emergency supply of medicines.

Siobhán is clear that the introduction of CPCS enables her, and other pharmacists, to make a difference to patients that they wouldn’t have otherwise seen and who may have experienced a much longer wait for help.

Patient gratitude

Whilst these consultations are “not a big deal to us in pharmacy”, the patients Siobhán has helped have been grateful to see a healthcare professional to get their problem sorted (even if it was just to give a bit of reassurance for someone with a bruised toe).

Referrals have mostly related to patients with coughs, colds and sore throats – which is to be expected at this time of year – but Siobhán hopes that this is just the beginning. She expects these patients will now know to head straight to their local pharmacy the next time they have a minor health concern.

A clinical challenge

There is a workload balancing act to perform and not all consultations have been straightforward, but Siobhán has relished the opportunity to focus more on her clinical skills and has learnt a lot along the way. “It’s like a mini CPD each time,” she says.

Treating children has proved to be the most challenging for Siobhán, but these referrals did provide an opportunity to raise awareness of the NHS tools their parents can use to better manage their child’s health in the future.

From the admission to hospital for a child with dehydration to arranging a same-day prescription for antibiotics for an infant with scarlet fever, parents have been particularly appreciative of the service that Bewick Pharmacy is providing.

GPs see pharmacy’s role

Whilst Siobhán has a good relationship with the GP practice next door to her pharmacy, she does think that the routes for arranging urgent GP appointments (if needed) and to provide feedback to the patient’s doctor needs improving. She took things into her own hands and spoke to her local practice to agree on how best to provide such feedback.

However, Siobhán says the service has been educating GPs on what community pharmacies can do, as well as raising the sector’s profile amongst the general public. “It ties in with the contractual changes”, she says, and is particularly apt considering the future of primary care providers will become more intertwined with the development of Primary Care Networks (PCNs).

Has your pharmacy registered for CPCS?

Community pharmacy contractors can register to provide CPCS via the NHSBSA Manage Your Service (MYS) portal.

Contractors must register by 15th January 2020 to receive a Transitional payment supplement of £600. No supplement will be paid for registrations made after this date.

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