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GP referrals ‘key’ to Pharmacy First success, analysis suggests

GP referrals ‘key’ to Pharmacy First success, analysis suggests

Referrals from GP practices and NHS services are ‘key’ to the success of Pharmacy First, the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) has suggested, following its analysis of Pharmacy First consultations around the country.

Latest analysis of the number of Pharmacy First consultations in CCA pharmacies across England has suggested disparity between the success of the service in different parts of the country, with the highest-performing integrated care systems (ICS) delivering seven times more Pharmacy First consultations than the lowest performing.

The data found that CCA pharmacies in the North East and North Cumbria delivered a total of 12,931 Pharmacy First consultations between 31 January and 21 April 2024.

When weighted according to population and the number of CCA branches in each area, this made North East and North Cumbria ICS the highest-performing integrated care system in England.

And the three highest-performing ICSs – North East and North Cumbria, Greater Manchester, and Cheshire and Merseyside – also had the highest number of electronic referrals from other parts of the NHS, the CCA found.

It said that three in 10 GP surgeries have referred a patient for a Pharmacy First consultation, but added that 69% of those referrals were from a very small minority (7%) of GP surgeries.

At the other end of the scale, just 948 consultations were completed across Gloucestershire ICS, while the 1,783 consultations recorded by CCA multiples in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly made it the lowest-performing ICS when the numbers were weighted for population and CCA branches.

Locally commissioned services and engagement were ‘likely a key contributor to this variation’, the CCA suggested.

It highlighted that in the North East and North Cumbria, an NHS urinary tract infection (UTI) pilot has been running since 2022. ‘The success of this pilot has likely provided a very strong base for Pharmacy First in that locality,’ the CCA suggested.

Last year, The Pharmacist reported that a walk-in consultation service in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly had delivered more than 8,000 face-to-face consultations within 12 months, for conditions including sore throat, UTIs, infected insect bites and shingles.

A version of this article was first published by Pulse's sister title The Pharmacist


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Turn out The Lights 5 June, 2024 8:07 pm

Eh! We have to refer to a service that are spouses to be reducing our workload and providing extra provision.An oxymoron brought in by morons.

David Church 9 June, 2024 8:59 am

What garbage. It is not ‘pharmacy first’ if patients have to be first traiged and referred by GP surgeries.
It’s in the name.
GP surgeries are Primary Care, and NHS managers who do not know what ‘primary’ means should be immediately terminated. We have plenty of bright graduates looking for worthwhile jobs