More than 1,800 community pharmacies have signed up to deliver the NHS 111 referrals service so far, The Pharmacist has learned.
The national community pharmacist consultation service (CPCS), 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.
As of 23 September, 1,879 pharmacies have signed up for the CPCS via the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) website since registration opened on 2 September, it was confirmed to The Pharmacist.
This represents around 16% of the estimated 11,500 community pharmacies in England.
‘A great start’
Speaking at the annual Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC) conference yesterday (25 September), pharmacy minister Jo Churchill said the uptake of the service is a ‘great start’ and will help ‘recognise the high level of skills’ of community pharmacists.
She told delegates: ‘This is a great start to implementing this new vision for community pharmacy, with all minor illnesses being referred to community pharmacy in the first place.
‘It’s important for everyone involved that we make this service a success. It will deliver faster access to a clinical consultation for patients with minor illnesses while helping reduce pressure elsewhere in the system.’
The Government wants to ‘build on the success’ of the CPCS and expand it to include referrals from GPs, urgent treatment centres and NHS 111 online over the next five years if pilots are successful, she added.
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.
No transition payments will be provided for those who register after 15 January 2020.
On the fence about whether to register? See our breakdown of everything you need to know about the CPCS for more information.