Introducing the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) for England

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Have you heard that the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) is being commissioned as an Advanced Service in England from the 29th October 2019?

This means that all Pharmacists working in England must complete the necessary training and keep up to date with all the information and knowledge required to provide this service. Here are the key things that you need to know about the CPCS.

Community Pharmacist Consultation Service

What is it?

The NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) was developed following two pilot services which were part of the work to integrate community pharmacy into local NHS urgent care pathways, as an element of the Pharmacy Integration Fund programme. These pilots were known as the Digital Minor Illness Referral Service (DMIRS) and the NHS Urgent Medicines Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS). The pilots have shown good progress, with patients consistently referred and reporting high satisfaction rates. Thanks to these pilots, episodes of care have been completed safely and appropriately instead of patients having to wait for a GP appointment and with the understanding that patients will be escalated to an appropriate service if necessary.

The service is based on a referral from NHS 111. Following an assessment by a call advisor, the patient is transferred for a consultation with a community Pharmacist instead of being booked for an urgent GP appointment, out of hours GP appointment, or signposted to their own GP, depending on the time of day.

Reasons for implementing the CPCS:

In line with the ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan 1, this service is expected to relieve pressure on urgent and emergency care, by referring patients to a consultation with a community pharmacist where otherwise they would have attended a GP out-of-hours appointment or A+E.

 Aims and intended outcomes

The CPCS is being introduced as an Advanced Service:

  • To support the integration of community pharmacy into the urgent care system, and to divert patients with lower acuity conditions or who require urgent prescriptions, releasing capacity in other areas of the urgent care system.
  • To offer patients who contact NHS 111 the opportunity to access appropriate urgent care services in a convenient and easily accessible community pharmacy setting on referral from an NHS 111 call advisor and via the NHS 111 Online service.
  • To reduce demand on integrated urgent care services, urgent treatment centres, Emergency Departments, walk-in centres, other primary care urgent care services and GP Out-of-Hours (OOH) services, and free up capacity for the treatment of patients with higher acuity conditions within these settings.
  • To appropriately manage patient requests for urgent supply of medicines and appliances.
  • To enable convenient and easy access for patients and for NHS 111 call advisor referral.
  • To reduce the use of primary medical services for the referral of low acuity conditions from NHS 111 and the need to generate urgent prescriptions.
  • To identify ways that individual patients can self-manage their health more effectively with the support of community pharmacists and to recommend solutions that could prevent use of Urgent and Emergency Care services in the future.

Community Pharmacist Consultation Service

Requirements for service provision – premises, training and other requirements

Prior to the provision of the service, the pharmacy contractor must:

  • Be satisfactorily complying with their obligations under Schedule 4 of the Pharmaceutical Services Regulations (Terms of Service of NHS pharmacists) in respect of the provision of essential services and an acceptable system of clinical governance.
  • Notify NHS England that they intend to provide the service by completion of an electronic registration declaration through the NHSBSA Manage Your Service (MYS) platform.
  • Be satisfied that all pharmacy staff involved in the provision of the service are competent to do so, including any locum staff.

Pharmacists providing the service must have access to the NHS Summary Care Record (SCR), the pharmacy’s shared NHSmail mailbox and the local secure electronic messaging system that NHS 111 or the IUC CAS use to send referrals. This system (‘the CPCS IT system’), provided by NHS England, will also be used by the contractor to maintain records of service provision and to send post-event messages to patients’ general practices. The contractor should acknowledge any electronic test messages received in a timely manner.

 Necessary knowledge and skills

The necessary knowledge and skills to provide the service are core competencies for all Pharmacists, but Pharmacists will want to ensure that they:

  • Have an up to date understanding of the Human Medicines Regulations (HMR) in relation to the emergency supply of Prescription Only Medicines (POM).
  • Are able to communicate with and advise patients appropriately and effectively on low acuity conditions.
  • Are able to assess the clinical needs of patients, including the identification of Red Flags (which are detailed in NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries).
  • Are able to act on the referrals received and make appropriate referrals to other NHS services and healthcare professionals.
  • Are able to explain the service to patients and carers.

The pharmacy contractor must ensure that all pharmacy staff involved in the provision of the service are appropriately trained on the operation of the service, including relevant sections of the SOP for the service. It is of importance that Locum Pharmacists are made aware of the service and understand the SOP so that they can provide the service.

Find more information about the service in the NHS Comprehensive Guide.

Act now

As part of the CPCS, all Pharmacists must have completed the CPPE Summary Care Records 2019 training and assessment online. Access the CPPE training and assessment now.

Once you have completed the Summary Care Records 2019 training, you must then apply for access to the Summary Care Records. Apply for access today.

We advise you to do this as a matter of urgency, as there is limited time left to obtain access to the records before the 29th October when the CPCS comes into effect.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about the CPCS, contact our friendly team for advice today.