NHS 111 online can now make referrals to the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) for minor illness.
Until now, the CPCS could only take referrals for urgent medicine supply from NHS 111 online.
As well as general practice, CPCS takes referrals from NHS 111, Integrated Urgent Care Clinical Assessment Services and in some cases, patients via the 999 service.
It was launched by NHS England in October 2019, to facilitate patients having a same day appointment with a community pharmacist for minor illness or an urgent supply of a regular medicine.
NHS England said this would improve access to services and provide more convenient treatment closer to patients’ homes, with the intention of alleviating pressure on GP appointments and emergency departments.
However the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) told Pulse earlier this year that referrals have been ‘burdensome’ for practices and that it is looking to remove the need for a GP referral to the service.
More than 100,000 patients were seen by their high street pharmacist in just one month according to new NHS figures.
In June, 118,123 people with minor illnesses such as a sore throat or constipation, or those in need of medicine urgently, received a same-day consultation with their local pharmacist after calling NHS 111 or their GP practice – an increase of more than four fifths (83%) on the number in the same month last year. (64,512)
A version of this article was first published by Pulse’s sister title The Pharmacist