NHS high street check-ups top 300,000
An NHS scheme which has seen tens of thousands of people get a fast, safe, face-to-face appointment with a local pharmacist is accelerating as people start to return to normal life after the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Almost a third of a million health checks have now taken place under the new scheme, the majority of which – more than 180,000 – have taken place since the NHS stepped up its response to the emerging threat of coronavirus at the end of January.
The ambition for the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service was set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, as one of a number of improvements to the popular 111 service to enable the public to access the right help in the right place.
Available through the fast and free NHS 111 phone or online service, those who would benefit are booked in for a face-to-face consultation with a pharmacist for a range of minor illnesses or to get an urgent supply of a previously prescribed medicine.
With the NHS encouraging more people to come forward for care who might have held back due to COVID-19 concerns, local pharmacies are gearing up to provide an increasing number of consultations safely, so that all those who would benefit can be referred.
NHS chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, recently said:
“High street pharmacists are highly qualified clinical experts who are playing a key part in the NHS’s frontline response to the greatest public health threat in our history, and they are making thousands of safe, convenient consultations available every day.
“This new service is part of a continually-developing NHS 111 service which is helping millions of people to safely access the right help fast, often without the need to go to a hospital A&E department.
“As the NHS adapts its urgent care services for the coronavirus era, these new options are going to be increasingly important.”
Local pharmacies have joined GP practices, out of hours GP and dental services, and Urgent Treatment Centres among the range of alternatives to hospital A&Es that people can be booked into if they need urgent care.
This is in addition to the clinical advice dispensed to thousands of patients who every day choose to phone or walk into their local pharmacy to seek help with minor health concerns or with their medicines.
Almost 190,000 people have been referred to the CPCS service for an urgent medicines supply – with online referrals accounting for 91% of requests for urgent medicines supply (UMS) in London alone during the COVID-19 period.
Many others have been offered a same day consultation by the NHS 111 service to support with minor illnesses including skin problems, sore throat, eye problems, back pain and other injuries.
An additional 12% were successfully escalated after immediate triage by the pharmacist, helping thousands to get the urgent care and treatment they need as quickly as possible. An escalation by a pharmacist may be the push many need to seek care during an uncertain time, as some put off seeking urgent medical help due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Dr Keith Ridge recently said:
“Pharmacies across England have put their all into supporting their communities during COVID-19 and made a real difference to so many patients and their families.
“Now, more than ever, access to same day advice and care via the CPCS is even more valued – as demonstrated by these high usage numbers.
“The achievement of 332,000 referrals since the service started at the end of October last year is phenomenal and demonstrates once and for all how much trust the public places in NHS 111 and their local pharmacist. Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make this a success.”
Demonstrating the value of the service for pharmacists, 94% (10,815) of all NHS pharmacies in England have registered to provide these services.
Martin Uhelak, superintendent pharmacist, Pavilion Pharmacy, London, recently said:
“Our pharmacy has been a hub of support to the community throughout the crisis. As addition to our normal service, we’ve helped many through the NHS 111 CPCS scheme. We’ve also set up a service to help deliver medicines to self-isolating patients by putting a request out via local neighbourhood apps for support, and then inviting respondents to attend training sessions.
“I’m so proud of all the pharmacy team and how we’ve risen to the challenge of COVID-19, providing clinical advice on minor illnesses and medicines and often reassuring families with children, older people living alone and those people who have been struggling to cope.”
Minister for Primary Care, Jo Churchill recently said:
“I’m delighted that the brilliant work of local pharmacy teams means that tens of thousands of people have been able to access timely advice and treatments through this innovative consultation scheme.
“As the pharmacy sector continues to adapt and adopt new ways of working, services like this demonstrate that pharmacy and the wider NHS will always be there for those who need it.”
Latest News from
Chair Appointed To Lead NHS Drive To Reduce Health Inequalities29/07/2020 14:15:00
A longstanding health leader and advocate on inequalities has been chosen to head up the health service’s major new work programme into the impact of race and ethnicity on people’s health, NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens yesterday announced at NHS England and NHS Improvement’s public board meeting.
Fast online access to world leading NHS weight loss advice27/07/2020 14:15:00
People who are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes will be fast-tracked into the flagship Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention programme, Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens yesterday announced.
Childcare costs for doctors to be covered in drive to boost GP numbers27/07/2020 13:43:00
The NHS has launched a new scheme to encourage hundreds more doctors to return to general practice by offering help towards the costs of caring for children or family members.
New NHS ‘Exemplars’ to help close inequality gap for people with a learning disability17/07/2020 09:15:00
The NHS yesterday called on local NHS organisations across the country to become learning disability ‘Exemplars’ to help drive forward improvements in care putting the health of people with a learning disability firmly on the agenda.
NHS to launch ground breaking online COVID-19 rehab service06/07/2020 16:15:00
Tens of thousands of people who are suffering long-term effects of coronavirus will benefit from a revolutionary on-demand recovery service, the head of the NHS yesterday announced.
NHS and St John Ambulance to recruit and train thousands of cadets06/07/2020 11:15:00
The NHS and St John Ambulance are joining forces for the NHS’ anniversary to recruit and train thousands of ‘NHS cadets’.
Around one million downloads of fitness app during lockdown as people stay fit02/07/2020 09:15:00
A fitness tool backed by the NHS has been adopted by hundreds of thousands of people seeking to get in shape during lockdown.
NHS patients among first in Europe to benefit from landmark deal for cystic fibrosis treatment01/07/2020 14:15:00
NHS patients in England will be some of the first people in Europe to benefit from a new “truly life-transforming” treatment for cystic fibrosis, health service chief executive Sir Simon Stevens yesterday announced.
Rankin unveils powerful portrait series dedicated to frontline staff to mark NHS birthday30/06/2020 09:15:00
Powerful and personal portraits of doctors, nurses and other NHS staff who responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, captured by acclaimed photographer Rankin, were yesterday unveiled to celebrate the NHS birthday.