NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) – integrating pharmacy into urgent care

The NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) was launched by NHS England and NHS Improvement on the 29 October 2019, to progress the integration of community pharmacy into local NHS urgent care services, providing more convenient treatment closer to patients’ homes.

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.

Following a period of successful piloting, the service is being extended (from November 2020) to include referrals for lower acuity conditions from general practice, as well as from NHS 111.

The practice care navigator, or NHS 111 call advisor will make 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).

Should the patient need to be escalated or referred to an alternative service, the pharmacist can arrange this. The service is helping to alleviate pressure on GP appointments and emergency departments, in addition to harnessing the skills and medicines knowledge of pharmacists.

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.

The full service specification is available here: Advanced Service Specification – NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service

This briefing note explains how the GP referral pathway works and how to implement it in PCNs and practices.

Find out how the 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.