The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) England and the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) have brought together pharmacy and GP colleagues to discuss collaboration across primary care, with a focus on community pharmacy’s role to support people with minor ailments.
The roundtable examined the roll-out of the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service and how to maximise its potential to manage the growing demand on the health service.
Key issues highlighted during the discussion included the need for a streamlined referral process, a focus on ensuring a good experience for patients, raising awareness among wider healthcare teams, and national support for implementation.
RPS England Chair Thorrun Govind said:
“I know that teams continue to be under pressure across the NHS and how much of a spotlight there is on primary care at the moment.
“When I became chair of RPS in England, I was determined to support how GPs and community pharmacists can work together to look after our patients.
“The Community Pharmacist Consultation Service is a really important example of how we should be better managing demand across the health service and making best use of the whole of the workforce.
“I was pleased to be joined by colleagues across primary care so we can better understand each other’s perspectives, help make CPCS a success, and deliver better care for patients.”
Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:
“General practice is currently operating under intense workload and workforce pressures – and one way to help free up GPs’ time is to look at how other clinicians can build on their roles in patient care where they have capacity and the right skill sets.
“Pharmacists are highly-trained and highly-trusted healthcare professionals, so there is an important role that community pharmacists can play in supporting people with minor ailments.
“We want to work with the RPS to ensure the CPCS is a success. With more practices signing up to using the service, we know there is support for the concept but there are still major challenges with implementation that need to be addressed.
“This includes additional investment in project management support and IT infrastructure to streamline the referral process, as well as a consistent approach nationally to ensure this doesn’t risk widening health inequalities.
“There also needs to be better information available nationally for patients about the service, how to access it, and what they can expect.”