Community pharmacy will receive a government payout of £7.8m resulting from almost 75% of pharmacies in England signing up to offer the new community pharmacist consultation service (CPCS).
The CPCS, which launched on 29 October 2019, combines the digital minor illness referral service (DMIRS) and the NHS urgent medicines supply advanced service.
The service was announced in the ‘Community pharmacy contractual framework for 2019/2020 to 2023/2024’, with the government incentivising pharmacies to sign up with the promise of £900 if they do so by 1 December 2019.
In a press release, NHS England said that 8,649 community pharmacies across England have so far registered to offer the service, meaning community pharmacies will receive a combined total of £7.78m as a result.
Pharmacists that sign up after 1 December 2019 but before 15 January 2020 will receive £600.
Andre Yeung, a community pharmacist based in Newcastle, who led the DMIRS pilot project in the North East of England, said the service “will help people suffering with minor illnesses get faster healthcare advice closer to home”.
Yeung added that the CPCS “also recognises the skills of pharmacists in managing minor illnesses and medicines”.
Bruce Warner, deputy chief pharmaceutical officer at NHS England, said the service “represents a step change in the way people will be able to use their community pharmacists and get care”.
The figures from NHS England come after the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee said on 29 October 2019 that more than half of pharmacies had signed up to provide the CPCS.