Service case study: Walk-in Consultation Service (Humber and North Yorkshire)

The Community Pharmacy Walk-in Consultation Service (WiCS) aims to make an additional 6,000 high quality appointments with a community pharmacist, available to patients across targeted areas in Humber and North Yorkshire.  The service launched on 1st September 2022 and will run until 31st March 2023 or when the funding runs out.

Complementing existing care

In addition to the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS), the WiCS service offers a limited number of CPCS-style consultations into which patients may self-refer. Patients who self-refer, do not require prior interaction with their general practice or NHS 111. This therefore, aims to reduce demand on those services, while also providing an easy access route for patients.

Part of the aim of the CPCS was to progress the integration of community pharmacy into local NHS urgent care services, providing a more convenient and effective service to meet patient’s needs. While CPCS will remain core to improving urgent care access in primary care, the availability of a self-referral service, further enhances the impact that community pharmacy can have to ensure that patients can be seen by the right person, in the right place, at the right time. This in turn, increases the opportunity for clinicians in general practice, to treat and care for higher acuity and urgent conditions.

Service provision

At the beginning of January 2023, 83 pharmacies had signed up and 70 pharmacies were actively providing the service.  Over 3,000 consultations had been provided since the service launched on 1st September 2022.

As the service provides a CPCS-style consultation (face-to-face or by telephone), the professional fee per consultation has been kept in line with the fee for the CPCS. Community Pharmacy Humber is responsible for project managing the service, which includes management of the distribution and capacity for consultations and may include overseeing caps on service provision, if so required.

Speaking about the service, Paul McGorry, Chief Executive Officer of Community Pharmacy Humber, said:

“We are piloting WiCS across two local pharmaceutical committee areas and have been actively providing CPCS-like interventions for 11 weeks. Our service is based on the sterling work done in Cornwall and is funded by our supportive local NHS England team who commissioned 6,000 consultations between the LPCs.

“We are delighted to have this local support from NHS England and feel it further demonstrates the need for national commissioning of such a service.

“Eleven weeks in, with a combined 83 sites accredited, we have performed 3089 WiCS interventions, just over half way through our allocation, with numbers increasing.

“An early review of user feedback suggestions around 60% of clients have indicated they would have gone to their general practice if not for WiCS. That has potentially saved over 1,700 GP appointments over the areas.”

More information on the WiCS can be found under Extended Care Services on the PSNC Services Database.