New statistics have this week revealed that local pharmacists have be treating on average 2000 patients a day through the community pharmacist consultation service (CPCS) that was launched in October last year.
To relieve pressure off the NHS, particularly A&E services and GP surgeries, since October 2018 patients with minor injuries and emergencies have been referred to their local pharmacy for same-day appointments. This includes patients with minor ailments such as sore throats to those with urgent medical needs with conditions from asthma to diabetes.
The CPCS is backed by £2.592 billion a year, with 10,610 pharmacies current registered with the programme. The service enables NHS 111 health advisors to refer patients to high skilled pharmacists who have at least 5 years of training and expert knowledge.
Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, commented:
“It is great to hear this week how the pharmacist consultation service is working to not only provide quality, same-day services for my constituents, but also relive pressure on our local health services especially over the winter months.
“The success of this scheme shows how innovative, new programmes can help improve and create a stronger NHS which is there for our loved ones. I look forward to seeing how programmes like this will continue to work for local residents.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“I want to see pharmacists ready and able to do much more to help people stay healthy and prevent pressure on hospitals. This ‘pharmacy first’ approach makes life easier for patients and will help reduce pressure in the NHS. I want to see more patients with minor illnesses assessed close to home, saving them unnecessary trips to A&E or the GP, and helping people get the care and advice they need quicker.
“Thousands of patients receiving same-day advice from highly skilled pharmacists is exactly what we need. Community pharmacy is an integral and trusted part of the NHS and we want every patient with a minor illness to think ‘pharmacy first’.
“This is just part of this government’s work to deliver on the people’s priorities and strengthen our NHS. Our record financial commitment for the NHS of £33.9 billion extra every year within the next 5 years – which we’re enshrining in law – will also allow us to expand frontline services with 50,000 more nurses, 6,000 more GPs and 6,000 more primary care professionals.”
Dr Bruce Warner, Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for NHS England and NHS Improvement, said:
“This unlocks the full potential of community pharmacy, giving it a more central role in healthcare and speeding up patients’ access to excellent care and face-to-face consultations.
“The number of referrals from NHS 111 in the first 2 months alone shows how well it is working and reaction has been good, with people telling us they have been satisfied with the service they received.”