NHS England has published the details of the new community pharmacist consultation service (CPCS) to coincide with the start of registration for the service today (2 September).

The advanced service, which will see NHS 111 patients with minor illnesses or those who require urgent prescriptions redirected to community pharmacies, was announced as part of the new five-year community pharmacy contractual framework in July.

Conditions referred to pharmacies could include athlete’s foot, earache, headache, lower back pain, skin rashes, sore throat and vomiting, according to the draft service specification document published today.

Pharmacists will receive £14 for every completed consultation as part of the service and will be supported with free training and access to the secure CPCS IT system in its first 18 months, NHS England confirmed at a press briefing attended last week (29 August) by The Pharmacist.

The service is due to start on 29 October and all contractors who wish to take part must register online via the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) Manage Your Service (MYS) platform.

Pharmacies that are ready to provide the service from 1 December will be able to claim a £900 transition payment, while those signing up by 15 January 2020 will be able to claim a payment of £600, according to the contractual framework.

Contractors must not actively promote the service as it is only available via referrals from NHS 111, NHS England said.


‘Major step change’


Deputy chief pharmaceutical officer for England Dr Bruce Warner said: ‘We want community pharmacies to start registering for the consultation service, so we have it up and running across the country for the benefit of patients this winter.

‘It represents a major step change in the service the NHS provides to patients and fully uses the clinical skills and expertise local pharmacists have to offer as the ‘go to first’ point of call for people with minor illnesses.’

He added: ‘It’s an exciting time and it establishes community pharmacies as a major clinical provider within the NHS.’


On the fence about whether to register? See our breakdown of everything you need to know about the service for more information.