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GP CPCS: ‘It’s a great way to collaborate’

Minor ailments, prescription,

By Saša Janković

01 Nov 2021

Makinder Suri, superintendent pharmacist at Grewal Pharmacy in Beeston, Nottingham and PCN lead for Nottingham West PCN, talks to Saša Janković about the success of her local GP CPCS service.

Service type: GP Community Pharmacy Consultation Service

Name and location of pharmacy: Grewal Pharmacy, Beeston, Nottingham

Name of superintendent pharmacist: Makinder Suri

When did you start offering this service? Mid-July 2021

Why did you start offering this service?

Our local GP surgery – The Manor Surgery – has been really proactive in setting up the GP CPCS referral service to us, and other pharmacies in our area, so it was a great way to collaborate with them on something that would be of benefit to even more patients.

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

Nothing in particular, but as referrals come to the pharmacy email, I needed to make sure that everyone got in the habit of checking our mailbox regularly to be prepared for patients who were going to come in from the surgery.

In a nutshell, what does the service involve?

The surgery refers patients to us for advice and treatment for a range of minor ailments such as hayfever and impetigo. We are particularly busy with people wanting help with UTIs, as we can deal with these on the Community Pharmacy Extended Care Service, which has been extended across the whole of the new NHSE/I Midlands region.

After we have seen the patient, we email the surgery back with all the information from the consultation so it goes straight into the patient’s records.

How have patients responded to the service?

If you go to the doctor and they send you over to us, we can give you your antibiotics to treat your UTI then you’ll get it sorted quickly, and patients really appreciate it.

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

We see 3-4 patients a week for UTI treatment.

How much do you charge for the service?

If we dispense a prescription then people simply pay the standard prescription charge, unless they are exempt.

Would you recommend offering this service to other contractors?

Absolutely. Doctors are contractors, pharmacists are contractors, they feel squeezed, and we feel squeezed but we have common patients, so if we can work efficiently in this way then it’s really rewarding – and it brings new patients into the pharmacy.

I have to give full credit to Dr Shapiro and her two receptionists at The Manor Surgery who have really got behind GP CPCS and made it work so well, and to NHS England Midlands for rolling out the extended service in our area, which allows us to treat UTIs. If they hadn’t set it up in the way they have it wouldn’t have worked. I think they have all been very progressive and we have grabbed the bull by the horns to make it work, but if they hadn’t taken the initiative we would still be banging on the door.

My advice to other pharmacies – and GP surgeries – wanting to make more of GP CPCS is to talk to others who are doing it really well and use their blueprint to set it up, so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. The funding mechanism for general practice and for pharmacy doesn’t encourage a lot of joined up working, but if we can do more to work together and collaborate it’s definitely better for everyone.

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