Doncaster is now part of a growing advanced national service where GP surgeries and NHS 111 can refer patients to community pharmacies for advice and treatment for minor illnesses.
The Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) aims to relieve pressure on the wider NHS by connecting patients with pharmacies who can deliver a swift, convenient and effective service to meet their needs without having to see a GP.
Since the CPCS was launched in England, an average of 10,500 patients per week are being referred for a consultation with a pharmacist. Among those practices using the CPCS in Doncaster is the Conisbrough Group Practice.
Tracey Sutton, the practice’s Support Team Manager, said: “We started using the CPCS in July with our local Weldricks branch. Since then, we have referred over 200 patients and from September we’ve also been referring patients to an additional branch of Weldricks. The service has benefits to both patients and clinicians as a lot of ailments don’t need to be seen by a GP, which saves patients having to wait but also frees appointments for those who most need them.”
As we reach the end of national ‘Ask Your Pharmacist Week’ (1-8 November), the local Clinical Commissioning Group and Primary Care Doncaster continues to raise awareness of the multitude of services available through local pharmacies, including the CPCS.
Pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals with a wealth of expertise to give the right help and support. People are encouraged to make pharmacies their first port of call if they feel unwell and there is no need to make an appointment to see someone. And where GP surgeries, the NHS 111 service, or even 999 emergency services, hear from a patient they assess as having a minor condition, they can refer them to a pharmacy that is part of the CPCS.
It is hoped that all Doncaster GP surgeries will be signed up to the CPCS by the end of this year.
In the meantime, there are plenty of local pharmacies across Doncaster offering weekend and late-night opening. Most have a private consultation room where you can discuss your ailments.
As we approach winter, colds and tummy bugs often increase in circulation and it’s important that people recognise when they’re feeling unwell early enough to be able to get help.
Anyone can go to any pharmacist for advice or to get the right medicines. By consulting with them first it helps to make GP appointments available for people with more complex healthcare needs.
Tracey Sutton added: “Word-of-mouth means the service is getting known throughout Conisbrough and the practice is delighted to receive good feedback from our patients on how efficient it is and how smoothly they have been dealt with. This is an easy service to refer to and our reception staff can easily to signpost patients through our clinical system.”