Slow take up of the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) is a missed opportunity, lead GP negotiator Richard Vautrey has said.
“The interaction between community pharmacy and general practice is fundamental,” the General Practitioners Committee chair told the HDA Conference last week.
“We want to see patients able to walk into their pharmacies and get the service they need that they recognise their pharmacy can provide.”
“We don’t need more bureaucracy,” Dr Vautrey said. “On the general practice side, we have to go through a laborious process of completing the referral form.
“When the patient rings up, and the receptionist recognises very quickly this is something the pharmacist across the road can deal with, they spend 10 minutes filling out the form, which means other people are waiting longer on the phone and getting irritated.
“It’s extra work the practice didn’t have to do before.”
Dr Vautrey said directing patients to pharmacy under the previous minor ailments scheme had been much simpler. “I’d love to move to a much more streamlined arrangement that trusts general practice to do the right thing, and that we trust in the pharmacy to deliver that service.”
PSNC’s director of NHS services Alastair Buxton said they would continue to push for a walk-in option, as in the three other home nations. He said patients who can’t afford even very inexpensive medicines either add to practice workload, or do nothing, widening health inequalities.
“A walk-in service is the sensible option, and we will continue to push for that; it also tackles a fundamental issue we have with informal referrals from general practice – we understand why that is happening – which have no NHS funding attached, so contractors do more work without that being paid for.”