Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock MP recently visited Ponteland Road Pharmacy in Cowgate, Newcastle to recognise the importance of, and acknowledge the success of, the community consultation pharmacy service (CPCS).
The service was set up in October last year, following successful pilots which started in the North East. More than 114,000 patients, with minor illnesses or who need any urgent supply of medicine, have been offered quick and convenient treatment and unnecessary A&E trips or GP appointments have been saved thanks to referrals to community pharmacists by NHS 111.
The NHS CPCS is funded as part of the £2.592 billion per year agreed in the community pharmacy five-year contract, which sets out an expanded role for community pharmacy to help more people stay well within their community.
Mr Hancock said: “Thousands of patients receiving same-day advice from highly-skilled pharmacists is exactly what we need. Community pharmacy is an integral and trusted part of the NHS and we want every patient with a minor illness to think pharmacy first.”
Andre Yeung, a pharmacist in Newcastle, said: “This service is helping thousands of people with minor illnesses to get faster healthcare advice closer to home. Pharmacies are really convenient, especially at evenings or weekends, and the new service has proved hugely popular with patients. It also recognises the skills of pharmacists in managing minor illnesses and medicines.”
Plans for the future include expanding the service to referrals from general practice by the end of 2020, subject to successful evaluation of pilots.