Josh Mallinder, pharmacist and IP at Kingsdown Pharmacy in Bristol, talks to Saša Janković about running a CPCS service.

Service type: CPCS

Name and location of pharmacy: Kingsdown Pharmacy, Bristol

Name of pharmacist: Josh Mallinder

When did you start offering this service?

CPCS started in 2019 and we’ve been doing it here since May 2020.

Why did you start offering this service?

The way the contract is going is more centred on services than items so we decided it was good thing to do. There are two GP surgeries up the road from us – one a family practice and one more catered to student health. We have a mainly student population round here so our customer base means we are seeing a lot of acute conditions rather than people on regular items that are predictable.

What, if any, training did you or other team members have to undergo?

I finished my IP training in September 2019 just before Covid, so that was really good timing. My IP course worked wonders for my consultation skills, even for things like note taking when doing consultations and referrals, as it’s much more than putting pen to paper on a prescription pad.

I've been the point of contact for care navigator training with the family practice and student health centre. We also have quarterly LPC meetings and have had feedback from practice managers that it has been helpful for them – often they weren’t aware of the services the pharmacy can provide, such as a PGD for hydrocortisone for the face, penicillin for strep throat, impetigo.

In a nutshell, what does the service involve?

The GP surgeries are effectively shut but still triaging to us for CPCS, and we couple it with other PGDs as well. For example, if I see a female, 18-65, with UTI symptoms then I can use my minor ailments PGD to treat them if they meet the criteria, and then the surgery realises we can do that for all the eligible women so send more to us.

Whenever I phone the patient or they contact me, if I can’t deal with their issue I have to phone the surgery back and get the person an appointment with the duty doctor.

Are there any opportunities to sell OTC or prescription products during or after the consultation?

We couple CPCS with the PGDs we have so it’s great as we get the service fee for CPCS but can also get one for the minor ailments PGD as well.

We make every contact count, and promote the minor ailments schemes by doing it – which of course comes with OTC advice about things like paracetamol for sore throats, and flu jabs as well.

How have patients responded to the service?

Around 2017 when I had just started practicing there was an attitude of “I need to see a doctor not a pharmacist” but in recent years that has changed and people now say “I’ll speak to you because I can’t see a doctor”.

We can see people almost instantly and that is starting to be realised by patients who didn’t know pharmacy could do things like this and are very pleased to be helped. It’s a chance for us to meet and help people who then know that they can come back for other things.

Roughly how often each month do you carry out the service?

I probably see about 30 people a month for CPCS from one practice. LPC meetings are promoting the service criteria for surgeries to signpost patients via the CPCS scheme, and I’m seeing more from student health as well.

Roughly how much a month do you make from offering the service?

It’s £14 per referral that you deal with, and if the UTI PGD is appropriate it’s an additional £14.

Would you recommend offering this service to other contractors?

Yes, but there's a big issue with promoting what we can do. If patients and doctors don't know about it then they are not going to come to us. It should be common knowledge.