13.01.20

Over 100,000 NHS patients benefit from new same-day pharmacy service

People dealing with minor illnesses or in need of urgent medicine have recently been seen by local pharmacies, taking mounting pressures off doctors.

The Government announced yesterday (Jan 12) that more than 100,000 patients have had appointments with expert pharmacists in the last 10 weeks, relieving pressures on GPs and A&E departments.

The new scheme, the community pharmacist consultation service (CPCS), was introduced in October 2019, and allows NHS 111 health advisors to refer patients directly to their local pharmacy for treatment, assessment or advice.

A total of 114,275 patients with minor illnesses or in need of medicines have been treated by the new same-day system to date. Included in this number are 64,067 appointments requesting urgent medication for conditions such as diabetes or asthma and 50,208 appointments for clinical advice such as for a sore throat of earache.

The NHS Long Term Plan is looking to further the role of pharmacists and is working to encourage the public to use the services available to them closer to home.

10,610 pharmacies are currently registered with CPCS, giving them a more central role in healthcare and unlocking the full potential of community pharmacy.

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.”

Patients can use the free NHS 111 phone and online service for urgent medical needs, visit their local expertise pharmacist and release pressure on A&E departments and GPs across the country.                                                  

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