Pharmacies in Yorkshire and the West Country are the final two sites to pilot a referral scheme that directs patients from general practice to community pharmacy.
The GP Digital Minor Illness Referral Service (DMIRS), under which patients are referred to a pharmacy by their GPs, was announced on 7 June 2019 with a commitment that it would be piloted in six areas.
Four sites were announced at the National Pharmacy Association conference on 21 June 2019 but the final two have now been confirmed as West Yorkshire and Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire after the NHS Business Services Authority published the specifications for the service on its website.
All six pilot sites are expected to run the service until 31 March 2020, with the services in Cumbria and North East and Cheshire and Merseyside having started on 20 May 2019 and 3 June 2019, respectively.
The service in West Yorkshire will start on 2 September 2019, with the others offering the GP DMIRS service from 1 July 2019.
According to the services specifications, pharmacies will be paid £14 per consultation “for delivery of the service and participating in the evaluation”.
The specification adds that the service will be evaluated on seven aspects, including referral rates to community pharmacy and the “identification of a clinical pathway for referral to community pharmacy”.
The documents note that while the list of symptoms to be referred to pharmacies “reflects the case mix” currently referred through the NHS 111 DMIRS scheme, “individual GP practices will determine which symptom groups they will refer to pharmacy”.
“This service will inform a national approach to symptom groups to include for referral from general practice to a pharmacy,” the document said.