Pharmacists offering the community pharmacist consultation service (CPCS) could receive a sum as small as £35 per month when the service launches on 29 October 2019, according to calculations by The Pharmaceutical Journal.
The CPCS, which was announced as part of the ‘Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework for 2019/2020 to 2023/2024’, will combine the digital minor illness referral service (DMIRS) and the NHS urgent medicines supply advance service (NUMSAS).
According to data presented by NHS England at the Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC) conference on 25 September 2019, 8,863 calls referred to community pharmacy through the DMIRS were either completed in the pharmacy or over the phone between December 2018 and August 2019.
This equates to 4.5 consultations in eight months for each of the 1,966 pharmacies that signed up to offer the service.
Additionally, the latest referral data available for NUMSAS revealed that each of the 4,020 community pharmacies offering the service received an average of two referrals per pharmacy per month.
With pharmacies earning £14 per referral, the figures suggest that the average pharmacy offering both DMIRS and NUMSAS is set to receive on average £35 each month for approximately 2.5 consultations when the CPCS launches (see ‘New pharmacist consulation service could provide just £35 per month for pharmacies’).
Funding for the delivery of the CPCS has come, in part, from cuts to other areas of the contract, such as the scaling back of medicines use reviews and establishment payments.
Hemant Patel, secretary of North East London Pharmaceutical Committee, told The Pharmaceutical Journal that pharmacies would need to conduct six consultations under the CPCS every day to reclaim the £26,200 that he estimates an average pharmacy would lose from the contract changes.
But he said this would require “a considerable amount of publicity”, which the CPCS service specification has said “must not” occur.
However, Nick Hunter, chief officer of Nottinghamshire LPC, said the funding should not be looked at as a “one-to-one” trade-off, as “the transition payments will act as that buffer”.