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NHS

Introducing the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) for Minor Illnesses

The NHS Community Pharmacy Consultation Service (CPCS) is an NHS England initiative providing more convenient treatment closer to patients’ homes.

Lots of conditions are more appropriate for a consultation with a Community Pharmacist, rather than a GP. Our team will discuss your symptoms and, if appropriate, refer you for a same day appointment with our community pharmacist colleagues at a local community pharmacy for a personal consultation. You will have a choice over which pharmacy you are referred to.

What is an NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation?

  • It’s a one-to-one consultation with a fully qualified clinical pharmacist at a local pharmacy.
  • It involves a clinical assessment and conversation with the pharmacist.
  • The consultation is normally by phone in the first instance or in the privacy of a consultation room at the pharmacy.
  • The clinical pharmacist will normally contact the patient within 4 working hours.
  • Currently this service is being provided by clinical pharmacists in Hertfordshire, so our patients who normally use a pharmacy in Buckinghamshire (i.e. Pitstone & Ivinghoe) will undertake a telephone consultation with a clinical pharmacist from one of the Hertfordshire participating pharmacies.
  • The clinical pharmacist will advise if an over-the-counter medicine is suitable, if so this can be obtained from your usual pharmacy, or if you need to be seen then they will refer you back to the GP practice.

How can the clinical pharmacist help?

  • The clinical pharmacist has the right clinical training to assess you and recommend the best treatment for some common conditions.
  • If your symptoms suggest it’s more serious, the clinical pharmacist will help you to get an urgent GP appointment if needed.
  • If you don’t need any treatment the clinical pharmacist will be able to provide reassurance and advice – for example, a minor ailment that may get better on its own.
  • To help with symptoms, the clinical pharmacist may suggest an over-the-counter medicine that can be purchased.
    What happens next?

The clinical pharmacist will make a record of the outcome and send it back to your GP.

What conditions can the clinical pharmacist treat?

Generally this will include most uncomplicated minor ailments and minor illnesses such as:

  • Bites and stings
  • Colds and flu like symptoms
  • Congestion (blocked or runny nose, hay fever, excess mucus etc)
  • Ear wax
  • Eyes (conjunctivitis, dry, runny or sore eyes)
  • Gastric & Bowel issues (constipation, heartburn, indigestion, haemorrhoids, vomiting)
  • Gynae & Thrush conditions
  • General muscular pain, sprains and strains
  • Skin conditions (acne, athletes foot, dermatitis, rashes, warts & verrucas, etc)
  • Mouth & throat conditions (cold sore, ulcers, sore throat etc)

What conditions aren’t referred to the clinical pharmacist?

Generally this will include:

  • Children under 1 year old
  • Immunosuppressed patients
  • Severe symptoms
  • Pregnant patients
  • Symptoms/conditions that have lasted more than 3 weeks
  • Has not responded to over-the-counter medication

This service has been trialled by practices in Hertfordshire, where it has proved to be very successful and patients in particular are finding it very helpful. Patients have also been referred to local clinical pharmacists by NHS 111 for some time.

This will help free up GPs to deal with more complex health needs and ensure that everyone gets treated at the right time, by the right healthcare professional.

We will be listening to patients about their experience of using this service and working closely with our local clinical pharmacist to inform how we can improve things, and so are keen to hear your views. You will be advised how to give this feedback when you access the Community Pharmacy Consultation Service.