The GP Community Pharmacy Consultation Service pilot in the South West of England has made the shortlist in the “Excellence in Primary Care” category of the NHS Parliamentary Awards.
Nominated by Darren Jones, the Labour MP for Bristol North West, the GP CPCS, which has now been rolled out nationally, was piloted in July 2019 across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire as part of the NHS England and NHS Improvement Pharmacy Integration Fund Programme.
"Being nominated is a huge achievement," said Dr Richard Brown, chief officer of Avon LPC, "but it was a collaborative piece of work between the CCG and the NHS England South West regional team. It was only because the three of us worked together to deliver the pilot that it has been a success."
The aim of the pilot was to improve access to primary care by referring patients requiring advice and treatment for certain minor illness conditions, from a GP practice to a community pharmacist. Over 40,000 consultations were completed during the pilot, with 71 per cent of patients receiving advice, or advice and an OTC product to manage their concern.
In 12 per cent of cases the pharmacist referred the patient back to their GP for an urgent appointment; in 17 per cent of consultations the pharmacist signposted the patient to another healthcare professional, or back to the GP for a non-urgent appointment.
Dr Brown says the service has gone from strength to strength locally since the pilot. "Half of our GP practices will be live by the end of the year, but we are ahead of the curve. The service is freeing up 100s of GP appointments and GPs are definitely using the service. As we start to engage GP surgeries and they build it into their practice they are finding it a great benefit. Some surgeries are freeing up five appointments a day. The opportunity is huge."
The NHS Parliamentary Awards culminate in a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament on July 7 2021 to which all nationally shortlisted nominees and their MPs are be invited.