Community Pharmacy: Information for GPs

Published on: 9th October 2019 | Updated on: 30th March 2022

This page set out information and resources on communities pharmacies that have been written for GPs and their teams. The resources will help you to understand the services that community pharmacies offer to patients and how they may be able to support you and your practice.

NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service

The NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) comes into effect on 29th October 2019. This service has been designed to relieve pressure on the wider NHS by connecting patients with community pharmacies as a first port of call for minor illness or for the urgent supply of medicines. Pharmacies will offer patients a consultation to help them to manage minor illnesses, or make an ’emergency supply’ of a medicine where a patient has previously been prescribed the medicine. The service will initially just take referrals from NHS 111 (rather than those patients being directed to GPs, GP OOH or A&E) with possible referrals from other settings, such as GP practices and NHS 111 online, in future years. GPs will receive an electronic notification when a patient has received an urgent supply; notifications will also be sent following minor illness consultations, where this is thought to be clinically significant.

CPCS: A guide for GPs

GP referral pathway

Community Pharmacy England has worked with NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I), the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Primary Care Pharmacy Association to produce a briefing note and case study which outlines how the GP referral pathway works and how to implement it in Primary Care Networks and practices.

In late May 2021, RCGP and NHSE&I held a webinar on GP referrals to CPCS, aimed at GPs and their teams:

RCGP/NHSE&I webinar on GP referrals to CPCS

An implementation toolkit available on the dedicated GP CPCS page on Future NHS provides resources and templates to support practice staff and PCNs to implement the service.

Community Pharmacy England has developed an animation and infographic to help describe the GP referral pathway into the CPCS, primarily aimed at GP practice teams. The animation outlines how referrals work and what pharmacies do with those referrals, as well as the success of NHS 111 referrals into the CPCS. The infographic complements the animation but in a one-page factsheet format.

Watch the animation:

View the infographic: Portrait or Landscape

NHS Pharmacy Quality Scheme

The NHS Pharmacy Quality Scheme in 2019/20 includes a public health domain proposed by NHS England and NHS Improvement which requires participating pharmacies to check with all patients aged 12 years and over with diabetes whether they have had their annual foot and eye health (retinopathy) checks. Where this is not the case, the patients are advised to discuss this with their general practice.

Community Pharmacy England guidance on the requirement advises community pharmacy teams to discuss this requirement with their local general practices and to determine the most appropriate way in which patients can be referred for further support; for example, it may be that the GP practice requests that patients are referred directly to the NDESP provider to arrange their retinopathy screening appointment.

Local Medical Committees (LMCs) are asked to engage with Local Pharmaceutical Committees (LPCs) where there are specific local arrangements that they would like to be highlighted to community pharmacy teams.

Information on pharmacy services

Community Pharmacy England Briefing 040/21: Briefing for general practice teams – changes to the NHS community pharmacy contract in 2021/22
This Community Pharmacy England Briefing provides information for general practice teams on the changes to the community pharmacy contract in 2021/22, including the revised Pharmacy Quality Scheme.

Summary of the Five-Year Pharmacy Deal for general practice teams
The recently agreed five-year funding and services deal for community pharmacies in England includes a range of new services that may have an impact on practices, including a Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS); referring people with diabetes where they have not had their annual foot and retinopathy checks; and engagement with Primary Care Networks (PCNs). The briefing summarises the deal.

Community Pharmacy England and BMA GPC publication: The community pharmacy – A guide for general practitioners and practice staff (May 2019)

Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS)/ Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP)/ BMA Statement on Primary Care Networks

Community Pharmacy England Briefing 041/17: ‘Walk in my Shoes’ toolkit
This Community Pharmacy England Briefing provides a toolkit for community pharmacy contractors or LPCs to use who are interested in setting up a ‘Walk in my Shoes’ programme to bring together community pharmacy teams and GP practice teams to help each other understand their roles, improve working relationships and ultimately provide better care for their patients.

Electronic Repeat Dispensing

NHS England published Electronic Repeat Dispensing – Guidance in June 2015. This document clearly describes how eRD works and is aimed at CCGs and GP practice teams. The joint Community Pharmacy England/NHS Employers/BMA GP Committee guidance for GP practices on repeat dispensing may also be helpful.

For more information on this topic please email

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