Andrew Lane, chair, NPA

The National Pharmacy Association says it’s pleased that GPs are being incentivised to engage with the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS), which is convenient for patients, frees up GP appointments and makes good use of community pharmacists’ skills to handle minor illnesses.

Health secretary Sajid Javid has announced a new £250 million winter access fund for general practice to increase capacity and encourage GPs to provide more face-to-face consultations.

Talking to Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2 on Thursday (October 14), NPA chair Andrew Lane said: “Everyone in the NHS – pharmacists, nurses, hospital staff and GPs – have worked incredibly hard over the past two years and stepped up to keep people well during the pandemic.

“The way people have accessed primary care has changed, with more people using the phone or going online, but very often people do want to talk a healthcare professional in person.

“Nearly two million people visit a pharmacy every day, usually without an appointment, to get highly convenient, face-to-face advice and treatment.”

Community pharmacists can do even more

He told the programme that community pharmacists could do even more to take pressure off GPs in the future if the NHS invests in services that incorporate independent prescribing.

Lane added: “This is all happening at a time when funding for pharmacies is falling and hundreds of pharmacies have closed over the last few years.  It’s good if money has been found for general practice, but let’s not forget the rest of the NHS team who are working just as hard on the frontline of the health service.”

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