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Cornwall community pharmacies’ WICS saved thousands of GP appointments

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Community pharmacies in Cornwall have delivered more than 8000 face-to-face consultations over last 12 months.

Walk In Consultation Service (WICS) began 12 months ago when pharmacies in Cornwall started offering face-to-face consultations for a wide range of minor ailments, and NHS treatment as required – the first service of its kind in England.

Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Scilly Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC) Chief Officer Nick Kaye joined Operations Manager Drew Creek in Parliament recently by invite of Steve Double MP, St Austell and Newquay to meet with Minister for Health Neil O’Brien MP to present the service to them and Senior Civil Servants from DHSC and NHSE with a view to rolling this service out nationally.

The data from these consultations show that over 6000 GP appointments were averted as a result of the service being available. After each consultation a record was sent to the patient’s GP for information.

The WICS has been a huge success as 80% of people who used the service had their symptoms successfully treated on site. In a post-consultation survey, 100% of patients who were questioned found the service easy to use and were happy with the consultation.

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LPC working with NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board (ICB) recommissioned this service after its initial 3 month period in April 2022. The service continues to be commissioned to date, and directly helps to relieve some of the many pressures on our healthcare system.

Nick Kaye, CEO Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LPC said “Community Pharmacies are already a trusted place for patients to receive clinical advice and intervention. This service builds on that but joins up the consultation by placing full details in the patients notes at their GP practice automatically, this allows for fully joined up care and relieves pressure on GPs and helps bring much needed funding into Community Pharmacies after 7 years of static funding which is forcing Pharmacies doors to close’.

Marco Motta, interim head of prescribing and medicines optimisation at NHS Cornwall says “Sometimes we just need to start something and see, rather than wait for something to come along. I am super proud of what Cornwall has been able to achieve over the last 12 months. This service shows what integration and innovation means, with the ultimate goal of supporting our community.”

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