The NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) was launched by NHS England on the 29 October 2019, to facilitate patients having a same day appointment with their community pharmacist for minor illness or an urgent supply of a regular medicine, improving access to services and providing more convenient treatment closer to patients’ homes.
The service is helping to alleviate pressure on GP appointments and emergency departments, in addition to harnessing the skills and medicines knowledge of pharmacists. Should the patient need to be escalated or referred to an alternative service, the pharmacist can arrange this.
Integrating pharmacy into urgent care
The first phase of the CPCS offered patients the option of having a face-to-face or remote consultation with a pharmacist following an initial assessment by an NHS 111 call advisor, and following a successful pilot, was extended to include referrals from general practice in November 2020.
Referrals from Urgent Treatment Centres and Emergency Departments to CPCS are being piloted at 14 sites around England from November 2021 until June 2022. The service specification can be found here: Urgent and Emergency Care (UEC) referrals to NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) pilot | NHSBSA
The practice, urgent or emergency care navigator, triage nurse or NHS 111 call advisor makes a digital referral to a convenient pharmacy, where the patient will receive pharmacist advice and treatment for a range of minor illnesses, or for an urgent supply of a previously prescribed medicine (NB. referrals for urgent prescriptions from general practice are not covered by this service).
Two toolkits for both pharmacy and GP/primary care network (PCN) colleagues are available:
- The Toolkit for pharmacy staff provides a practical guide on providing the NHS CPCS service.
- The GP/PCN toolkit provides a practical guide on implementing the minor illness referral pathway from general practice to NHS CPCS.
- This briefing note explains how the GP referral pathway works and how to implement it in PCNs and practices.
- The full service specification is available here: Community pharmacy advanced service specification: NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service
Find out how the GP referral pathway is operating in the North West.
Read about the pilot of GP referral pathway to CPCS in the South West and watch the video below:
NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) animation (NHS 111 referral pathway)
This animation provides an overview of the patient journey through the service, from when they first call NHS 111, and has been developed to help train NHS 111 call advisors and pharmacy teams.
NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) – urgent medicine supply patient journey (NHS 111 referral pathway only)
This animation is a training resource for NHS 111 call advisors and pharmacy teams about the urgent medicines supply pathway that is specific to NHS 111 referrals only.