The Fylde Coast has been named as a pilot site by NHS England and Improvement to test a new service to incorporate referrals to community pharmacists from urgent and emergency settings including A&E and Urgent Treatment Centres.
In line with the ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, this service is expected to relieve pressure on urgent and emergency care, by referring patients to a consultation with a community pharmacist when having run out of regular medicines or requiring support with low acuity/ minor illness. The service will also help to tackle elements of existing health inequalities by providing urgent access to patients who are not registered with a GP.
Patients who attend an Urgent Treatment centre are triaged and assessed as being suitable for the referral to the CPCS and are assisted in choosing the most appropriate community pharmacist for their needs, based on locality and accessibility etc. The pharmacy of choice is notified of the referral and sent all relevant details. The patient then leaves the A&E or Urgent Treatment Centre and makes their way to the pharmacy for a consultation and all being well the issue is resolved. Should the consultation reveal that a further intervention such as a GP appointment is required the pharmacist will have the ability to make an onward referral.
There are currently 25 pharmacies taking part in the pilot based across the Fylde Coast
This is an extension from a previous pilot whereby the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) was commissioned to cover referrals for low acuity minor illness from general practice settings. During the pilot of referrals from GPs 88 per cent of patients were treated by pharmacists without the need for other referrals to other specialties. General feedback from patients involved was favourable.
The service is due to launch on 1 December 2021