Pharmacy bodies have urged contractors to sign up for the new community pharmacist consultation service (CPCS) after registration opened this week (2 September).
The national service, which is set to launch on 29 October, will see pharmacists paid £14 for each consultation resulting from an NHS 111 referral for minor illnesses or urgent prescriptions.
Pharmacies that sign up before 1 December will be able to claim a £900 transition payment, while those signing up between 1 December 2019 and 15 January 2020 will be able to claim a reduced payment of £600.
PSNC: ‘A landmark moment’
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) welcomed the opening of registration for the service, which it said would ‘demonstrate the value’ of community pharmacy.
PSNC director of NHS Services Alastair Buxton said: ‘The launch of the CPCS on 29 October will be a landmark moment for community pharmacy’s expanding role within the NHS. If community pharmacy can deliver this service successfully, it will secure our place at the heart of primary care and will give the sector leverage for the future; if we choose to ignore what our customer wants, we will not be able to gain that leverage.’
Mr Buxton encouraged all contractors to register early so that they can benefit from the full transition payment and demonstrate the sector’s ‘willingness to provide this type of clinical service’.
He added that implementation of the CPCS was ‘a high priority’ for the NHS and the Government during their contract discussions with the negotiator.
RPS: ‘A chance to shine’
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) stressed the importance of getting involved with the new service to secure the future of community pharmacy.
Chair of RPS in England Claire Anderson said: ‘It’s vital that pharmacy teams make the most of this opportunity and demonstrate that we can deliver care to the highest standards. This is a chance to shine and show patients, other healthcare professionals and the NHS exactly what we are capable of as a profession.’
The service is a ‘win-win’ because it reinforces community pharmacists’ clinical role within the primary care team, as well as improving patient care, Ms Anderson added.
She said: ‘Delivery of the CPCS will help open doors to future opportunities for the profession so we all need to get behind it and make it a success.’
Ms Anderson added that she is ‘confident’ pharmacists will do ‘an incredible job’ of delivering the CPCS and ‘strongly encouraged’ all contractors to register for its delivery.
NPA: ‘A stepping stone to more service opportunities’
The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) also called on its members to look to the future as they consider signing up to deliver the service.
NPA chief Mark Lyonette said: ‘The CPCS fits the NPA’s vision of community pharmacy as the front door to the NHS - the first place to come for healthcare and better integrated with other local health services. It could also be a stepping stone to more service opportunities in community pharmacy.’
He added: ‘We know this is going to be difficult to do with static funding but we urge NPA members to engage with this strategically important service.’