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Boosting GP community pharmacy consultations

Our work  supporting implementation of the GP Community Pharmacy Consultation Service in the East of England led to a significant increase in practices referring patients with minor ailments to community pharmacies.

Background
The GP Community Pharmacy Consultation Service (CPCS) is a national pharmacy service to enable patients to get care for minor ailments from their community pharmacy instead of the GP practice.

In 2021, MLCSU was commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement to support implementation of the NHS CPCS service across the East of England from February to July. It involved working across six integrated care systems (ICSs), 16 clinical commissioning groups, 146 primary care networks and 672 practices.

Action
We produced a CPCS Resource Pack, localised on request for each ICS area and shared with all GP practices and local leads.

Two PowerPoint slide sets were developed and recordings made of the question and answer (Q&A) webinar sessions for practices unable to attend.

48 introductory and check-in Q&A webinar sessions were held, with follow-up calls offering additional support to all those who attended or expressed an interest in attending.

Our GP CPCS help desk dealt with any queries within 48 hours.

Impact
Through our leadership and engagement we supported the East of England to increase the number of practices referring to community pharmacies from 16 at the start of the project to 72 by the end of July, with a further 19 practices ready to go live during August.

We helped to significantly increase the number of referrals increased from just four at the start of the six-month project to a cumulative total of 2908 by the end of July.

A satisfaction survey sent out to stakeholders to gain feedback on the overall service from MLCSU gave an average of 4/5 stars.

Covid has created a world of pressure and although it seems counter-intuitive to add more to our care navigator to deal with at this time they have taken to this new referral process brilliantly and we can see the long-term benefits. We were particularly keen to get up and running before winter sets in and using the clinical skills that our pharmacy partners have makes sense.
GP practice manager, East of England

The GP CPCS referral process has worked brilliantly for our practice. We have worked hard with our pharmacy colleagues to ensure this is a “one team” approach.  In the main our patients have responded positively, and it has saved appointments.
GP practice manager, East of England

The key success factor was the setting up of the local system working group that involved yourselves, the CCG, LPC and LMC.  The training webinars, resource packs,  Q&A sessions were all valuable.
Local Pharmaceutical Representative, East of England