Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS)

Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS)

The NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service launched on 29th October 2019 as an Advanced Service. Since 1st November 2020, general practices have been able to refer patients for a minor illness consultation via CPCS, once a local referral pathway has been agreed.

Read more about the GP referral pathway

The service, which replaced the NUMSAS and DMIRS pilots, connects patients who have a minor illness or need an urgent supply of a medicine with a community pharmacy.

As well as referrals from general practices, the service takes referrals to community pharmacy from NHS 111 (and NHS 111 online for requests for urgent supply), Integrated Urgent Care Clinical Assessment Services and in some cases patients referred via the 999 service.

The CPCS aims to 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. Since the CPCS was launched, an average of 10,500 patients per week being referred for a consultation with a pharmacist following a call to NHS 111; these are patients who might otherwise have gone to see a GP

The CPCS provides the opportunity for community pharmacy to play a bigger role than ever within the urgent care system.

Free CPCS training for pharmacists

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Royal College of General Practitioners are providing free CPCS workshops for pharmacists.

The workshops, funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement, via Health Education England, will help pharmacists to build their confidence and practice the skills they need to help people when providing the CPCS.

Participants will learn and practise new skills during the session, gaining confidence in performing clinical examinations and identifying red flags in consultations. They will get instant feedback from GPs and other professionals and the training will also help pharmacists to learn how to involve patients during decision-making.

To find out more and book your free place visit the Royal Pharmaceutical Society website.


Patients being referred to the CPCS are now being told to phone the pharmacy and to speak to the pharmacist. Unless there is a clinical need for the patient to be seen in the pharmacy, the pharmacist can provide a consultation by telephone, as is provided for in the service specification. If the consultation is conducted in this manner, the pharmacy is eligible to claim the fee for provision of the service.

Click on a link below for more information.

CPCS service specification (Updated 11th March 2021)
The service specification describes the requirements for provision of the service and it is essential reading for all pharmacists providing the service. Changes were made to the service specification in late October 2020 in readiness for the addition of the GP referral pathway on 1st November 2020.

CPCS Toolkit for pharmacy staff (Updated 11th March 2021)
The toolkit provides further information on the CPCS for pharmacy teams, including materials which can be used to brief team members on the service.

Pharmacy contractors can register to provide the service via the NHSBSA Manage Your Service (MYS) portal.

CPCS – when is it complete? v1 (July 2021)
The table sets out the range of scenarios associated with the CPCS and when a consultation within the service is complete (and hence can be included in the total number of completed CPCS claimed at the end of the month on the FP34c).

GP referral pathway

Additional resources for pharmacy teams (including learning and development)

Funding, claiming payment and post-payment verification

IT  requirements and support

Resources for LPCs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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