Community pharmacy emergency care pilot projects to be rolled out at nine sites in England


Community pharmacies in nine regions of England are to receive referrals from emergency and emergency care facilities through a pilot ‘Community Pharmacist Consultation Service’ (CPCS) project.

Participating pharmacies will be paid £ 14 per referral from settings such as emergency treatment centers (UTC) and accident and emergency services (ED), the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) said.

According to a service level agreement, published in November 2021 by NHS England and NHS Improvement, the pilot sites are expected to start between November 1 and December 1, 2021 and will last until June 30, 2022. However, according to the website of the NHSBSA, pilots “may be extended” until September 30, 2022.

This benchmark route was first announced in July 2019 as part of the five-year ‘community pharmacy contractual framework’ and its launch follows comments from NHS England in October 2021 that the pilot would start at the winter 2021.

To participate, pharmacies must have a completion rate of at least 60% for CPCS referrals within the past six months. A referral is considered complete when one of the seven criteria is met, including after the pharmacist has consulted the patient and provided advice.

Participating pharmacies must also be located in one of the nine pilot areas of the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to participate in the pilot, which include Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire; East and West Sussex; Kent and Medway; Coventry and Warwickshire; Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre; Bury; Wakefield; Northumberland, North Tyneside and Gateshead; and Tameside and Glossop.

A statement on the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre CCGs website, published on November 23, 2021, said its pilot project was to “be launched on December 1, 2021” with the participation of 25 community pharmacies in the region.

The NHSBSA website said the pilot project “should ease the pressure on urgent and emergency care by referring patients to a consultation with a community pharmacist where they would typically attend an appointment with a general practitioner. ; appointments outside the opening hours of the general practitioner; [or] UTC or ED service, due to a shortage of regular medications or requiring support with low acuity or minor illness ”.

He added that the service would also help tackle “existing health inequalities by providing urgent access to patients who are not registered with a general practitioner” and ease the pressure on emergency care services this time. winter.

Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services at the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, said: “The start of this pilot project is a positive development and we hope it will show how more people can be safely referred to CPCS, helping emergency care providers and patients. .

“Patients who find it difficult to access care will really benefit from such an expansion of the service, but the ability for patients to refer themselves to the service is also a necessary development if its potential benefits are to be fully maximized. “

Ravi Sharma, director of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in England, said the pilot was “great news on several fronts”.

“First and foremost, it will help increase access to care and support for the public, including patients who are not registered with a general practitioner. The expansion of the service will also make greater use of the clinical expertise of community pharmacists and will undoubtedly help reduce pressure on the NHS.

“To help ensure the success of the pilot and to make referrals as easy as possible, local support for project implementation and management will be necessary,” he said, adding that pharmacists “wishing to participate in the pilot must have completed CPCS training through RPS or the Royal College of GPs, or registered to undergo training in the near future ”.

In addition to the £ 14 per referral, pharmacy contractors will be able to claim a one-time fee of £ 665 for administrative costs associated with attending the pilot assessment and training, with an additional payment of £ 45 available for subcontractors who take part in in-depth interviews as part of the assessment.

Referrals are made via NHSmail or a standard Message Interoperability Toolkit – a messaging system between healthcare organizations – directly to the NHS CPCS IT system. The plan is for the referral to be treated the same as GP and NHS 111 referrals.

The NHSBSA website states that pharmacists are able to perform remote live video consultations with patients as part of the service, provided the contractor ensures that staff and patients can communicate effectively. full security and confidentiality by live video and audio link.

Read more: Collaboration, not competition: the NHS blueprint to prevent patients from going to hospital

  • This article was updated on November 24, 2021 to include comments from Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services at the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, and Ravi Sharma, director of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in England.


Comments are closed.