latest health care news

19.06.20

NHS community pharmacy health checks pass 300,000 appointments

An NHS scheme which has seen fast, safe, face-to-face consultations with a local pharmacist has now surpassed 300,000 appointments, as efforts have begun to accelerate once more as part of restoration efforts following the coronavirus peak.

The NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service was set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019 and was cited as one of a number of improvements to the 111 service to enable the public to access the right help in the right place.

Almost a third of a million health checks have now taken place under the new scheme, with the vast majority of those – more than 180,000 appointments – having taken place since the NHS stepped up its response to the emerging threat of coronavirus at the end of January.

The service is available through the NHS 111 phone or online service, with those who’d benefit from the appointments booked in for a face-to-face consultation with a pharmacist for a range of minor illnesses or to get an urgent supply of a previously prescribed medicine.

As the NHS encourages more people to come forward for care who might have held back due to Covid-19 concerns, local pharmacies are gearing up to provide an increasing number of consultations safely, so that all those who would benefit can be referred.

READ MORE: Government announce £300m support for community pharmacies

NHS Chief Executive, Sir Simon Stevens, said: “High street pharmacists are highly qualified clinical experts who are playing a key part in the NHS’s frontline response to the greatest public health threat in our history, and they are making thousands of safe, convenient consultations available every day.

“This new service is part of a continually-developing NHS 111 service which is helping millions of people to safely access the right help fast, often without the need to go to a hospital A&E department.

“As the NHS adapts its urgent care services for the coronavirus era, these new options are going to be increasingly important.”

Local pharmacies have joined GP practices, out of hours GP and dental services and Urgent Treatment Centres among the range of alternatives to hospital A&Es that people can be booked into if they need urgent care.

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Dr Keith Ridge said: “Pharmacies across England have put their all into supporting their communities during COVID-19 and made a real difference to so many patients and their families.

“Now, more than ever, access to same day advice and care via the CPCS is even more valued – as demonstrated by these high usage numbers.

“The achievement of 332,000 referrals since the service started at the end of October last year is phenomenal and demonstrates once and for all how much trust the public places in NHS 111 and their local pharmacist. Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make this a success.”

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