NHS 111 to boost pharmacy referrals as CPCS scope widens

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NHS 111 to boost pharmacy referrals as CPCS scope widens

The recent expansion of the Community Pharmacist Consultation service could result in 275,000 more NHS 111 referrals to pharmacies each year, the PSNC has said.

NHS England & Improvement announced on Friday that more minor illness symptoms are to be included for referral to pharmacies via the NHS 111 CPCS pathway.

Three new condition types – scratches and grazes, teething and sinusitis – have been added, while general health information requests have been incorporated.

The negotiator said that 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”. These will include diarrhoea, vomiting, bites and stings, skin rash and constipation.

This follows a review of NHS Pathway algorithms by a group of integrated urgent care clinicians and pharmacists. The changes came into effect on January 13.

The PSNC said that while referral volumes “are always dependent on overall NHS 111 call volumes,” based on 2021 data the addition of more conditions could result in 275,000 more referrals being made each year.

The negotiator asked pharmacies to keep checking their systems regularly for any CPCS referrals.

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