Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS)

Published on: 23rd July 2019 | Updated on: 16th November 2023

The NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service launched on 29th October 2019 as an Advanced Service.

The service connects patients who have a minor illness or need an urgent supply of a medicine with a community pharmacy.

The CPCS aims to relieve pressure on the wider NHS by connecting patients with community pharmacy, which should be their first port of call and can deliver a swift, convenient and effective service to meet their needs. Since the CPCS was launched, an average of 10,500 patients per week being referred for a consultation with a pharmacist following a call to NHS 111; these are patients who might otherwise have gone to see a GP

General practices can refer patients for a minor illness consultation via CPCS, once a local referral pathway has been agreed. As well as referrals from general practices, the service takes referrals to community pharmacy for minor illness or if a patient needs an urgent supply of a medicine from NHS 111 and NHS 111 online, Integrated Urgent Care Clinical Assessment Services and in some cases patients referred via the 999 service.

From 15th May 2023, 999 services or providers of urgent and emergency care who are authorised by NHS England to provide this (for example, Urgent Treatment or Urgent Care Centres, an Emergency Department or an Accident and Emergency Unit) can also make referrals to community pharmacy for minor illness or if a patient needs an urgent supply of a medicine.

The CPCS provides the opportunity for community pharmacy to play a bigger role than ever within the urgent care system.

From 31st January 2024 (subject to the required IT systems being in place), the service will be subsumed into the new Pharmacy First service (Advanced service). Read more about this:

Pharmacy First service

Click on a link below for more information.

CPCS service specification
The service specification describes the requirements for provision of the service and it is essential reading for all pharmacists providing the service.

CPCS Toolkit for pharmacy staff
The toolkit provides further information on the CPCS for pharmacy teams, including materials which can be used to brief team members on the service.

Pharmacy owners can register to provide the service via the NHSBSA Manage Your Service (MYS) portal.

Service Directions

Service Determination

CPCS – when is it complete? v1 (July 2021)
The table sets out the range of scenarios associated with the CPCS and when a consultation within the service is complete (and hence can be included in the total number of completed CPCS claimed at the end of the month on the FP34c).

GP referral pathway

Additional resources for pharmacy teams (including learning and development)

Funding, claiming payment, statistics and post-payment verification

IT  requirements and support

Resources for LPCs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Latest National Pharmacy Services news

View more National Pharmacy Services newsSee all