More CPCS referrals expected to community pharmacy from NHS 111

NHS England and NHS Improvement have announced today (14th January 2022), that community pharmacy contractors can expect to receive more referrals from NHS 111 for the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) following a review of the NHS Pathway algorithms.

The review was conducted by an expert group of Integrated Urgent Care clinicians and pharmacists and has resulted in more minor illness symptoms being included for referral to the CPCS from NHS 111. While the volume of referrals to pharmacies are always dependent on overall NHS 111 call volumes, based on data from 2021, this review could generate 275,000 additional referral opportunities annually.

The changes introduce three new condition types (scratches and grazes, teething, sinusitis) and incorporate general health information requests. Referrals will also be made for some conditions which are already well managed by the CPCS, but that have been previously triaged as having higher acuity requirements depending on the patient’s declared history, e.g. diarrhoea, vomiting, bites and stings, cough, cold and flu, constipation, skin rash, sticky or watery eyes.

The updates to the NHS 111 Directory of Services pharmacy profiles to enable these new triage outcomes took effect from 13th January 2022.

There are no planned changes to the service specification as a result of these profile changes and contractors are reminded about the importance of regularly checking their systems for any referrals.

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