As part of the work to integrate community pharmacy into local NHS urgent care pathways, as an element of the Pharmacy Integration Fund programme, a new pathway defined as the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) (formerly known as the Digital Minor Illness Referral Service or DMIRS has been tested in the North East since December 2017 and in Devon, the East Midlands and London since autumn 2018.
This model has been based on a referral from NHS 111, following an assessment by a call advisor, leads to the patient being transferred for a consultation with a community pharmacist instead of being booked for an urgent GP appointment or signposted to their own GP, depending on the time of day.
From June 2019, additional pilot phases will operate whereby patients can be referred into the service by general practice reception teams working with care navigators. This new pathway is initially being tested in Cheshire and Merseyside STP; Lancashire and South Cumbria ICS; Greater Manchester ICS, North East and North Cumbria ICS, Bristol North Somerset & South Gloucester STP from June 2019.
The pharmacist will carry out a consultation with the patient in the privacy of the consulting room and make an appropriate clinical record using recognised NICE guidelines to assess symptoms of minor illness and access to a range of material to support advice about health and well-being.
This first pilot has shown good progress with patients consistently referred and reporting high satisfaction rates. Episodes of care are 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.
Digital Minor Illness Referral Service (now known as the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service) training animation
A training animation has been developed for NHS 111 call advisors and pharmacy teams to describe the Digital Minor Illness Referral Service (DMIRS/CPCS) service and to describe the patient journey through the service.