From Monday, referrals from NHS 111 online to the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) can be made for minor illness, as well as the current referrals for urgent medicine supplies.

This follows a six-month pilot across several areas, including Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire CCG and the North ICP.

In a primary care bulletin sent yesterday from NHS England, contractors were reminded to check both their commissioned pharmacy IT system and to ensure referrals are identified and managed effectively and that the pharmacy team is fully briefed to deliver the service as per the CPCS service specification.

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.

Until now, the CPCS could only take referrals for urgent medicine supply from NHS 111 online. However, from next week this will also be expanded to minor illness.

The CPCS was launched by NHS England on 29 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, improving access to services and providing more convenient treatment closer to patients’ homes, with the intention of alleviating pressure on GP appointments and emergency departments.

The first phase of the CPCS offered patients the option of having a face-to-face or remote consultation with a pharmacist following an initial assessment by an NHS 111 call advisor, and following a pilot, was extended to include referrals from general practice in November 2020. How to make the most of your NHS 111 referrals.