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Inclusion of referrals from general practices into the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) has benefited several patients, who could avail a face to face or virtual consultation with a pharmacist the same day or at a time convenient to them, says Adam Clark, the Pharmacist at Clark’s Chemist.

The service was extended to include such referrals in November 2020. Since then, the Clark’s Chemist in Barnsley is receiving around 20-25 minor illness referrals a week from a number of general practices.

The Clark’s case study published by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) highlighted many positive outcomes of this service.

The case study revealed one such instance, a woman, isolating with Covid-19 and the primary carer for her elderly aunt, phoned her local GP surgery distressed about her aunt’s diarrhoea. The receptionist at the practice referred them to their local pharmacy, Clark’s Chemist. Thereafter, a pharmacist contacted the patient and, advised that they purchase an over the counter medicine. The pharmacy then delivered this medicine to the patient’s door within fifteen minutes of the consultation.

If not for GP CPCS, this patient would have waited for a GP appointment.

Getting set-up

Adam said that setting up the referral pathway was simple: a representative from the pharmacy spoke to the GP practice manager, and the Local Pharmaceutical Committees (LPC) investigated the software needed to get the service up and running. After releasing the chosen software, LPC members familiarised themselves with and taught the medical receptionists how to use it.

He further suggested that pharmacy staff should remain in regular contact with the medical receptionists through the GP practice manager(s) and support them as much as possible to increase their confidence in referring to pharmacy.

Improving professional relationships

Adam believes that GP CPCS has been a valuable tool in educating GPs on what community pharmacies can do. Besides, the relationships built between pharmacies and GP surgeries delivering the service could pave the way for the introduction of more national Advanced Services.

He added: “The surgeries, particularly their reception staff, have been outstanding, and I look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”

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