Community Pharmacist Consultation Service

Community Pharmacist Consultation Service

A new NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) will be launching in October 2019 as an Advanced Service. The service will connect patients who have a minor illness with a community pharmacy as their first port of call.

The CPCS will take referrals to community pharmacy from NHS 111 initially, with a rise in scale with referrals from other parts of the NHS to follow. The CPCS will relieve pressure on the wider NHS by connecting patients with community pharmacy, which should be their first port of call and can deliver a swift, convenient and effective service to meet their needs.

The CPCS provides the opportunity for community pharmacy to play a bigger role than ever this winter as an integral part of the NHS urgent care system. This will continue to be supported by the NHS Help Us Help You Pharmacy Advice campaign.

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The service specification, Directions and guidance

NHS England and NHS Improvement will be publishing the associated documents for this service. A publication date has not yet been confirmed; PSNC will alert community pharmacy contractors when this is published through their normal communication channels.

Service implementation

Two strands of the new CPCS service will be rolled out nationally in October 2019, with referrals to community pharmacies being made from NHS 111 for minor illness and urgent medicines supply. This new CPCS will replace the current NHS Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS) as well as local pilots of the Digital Minor Illness Referral Service (DMIRS).

Development of the CPCS will take place over the five-year period of the revised CPCF. Implementation planning for the new service has already begun.

The piloting of DMIRS and NUMSAS through the Pharmacy Integration Fund (PhIF) has enabled NHS England and NHS Improvement to introduce a well tried, tested, safe and sustainable service into the CPCF. It has also enabled them to demonstrate the value that community pharmacy can add. They want to build on this model to ensure that any further services are fully evaluated before their introduction at a national scale.

In 2019/20 the CPCS will take referrals from NHS 111, but over the course of the five years of the CPCF agreement, this is expected to expand to include referrals from GP practices, NHS 111 online, urgent treatment centres and possibly A&E. Each phase will be piloted first using funding from the PhIF, with roll out subject to successful evaluation. The potential volume of referrals is not certain at this stage, but the GP Forward View suggested that around 20 million appointments in general practice alone do not require a GP.

Service funding

Funding for the CPCS will include an initial transitional payment for contractors. Those contractors who are ready to provide the service from December 1st 2019 will receive £900, and those who are ready by January 15th 2020 will receive £600. These will be followed by a £14 fee per completed consultation.

This payment model will be reviewed for 2021/22 onwards, depending on factors such as volume of service, and training opportunities will also be provided. There is also an intention to use the PhIF to procure IT functionality to support the new service.

The anticipated funding profile for the initial service is as follows:

2019/20 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23 2023/24
4 million 9 million 13 million 16 million 19 million

Workforce development

NHS England and NHS Improvement and Health Education England will work to deploy PhIF funding in support of the CPCS, offering opportunities for continuing development of pharmacists’ skills. These will be made available in parallel with the service rollout.

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