Pioneering pharmacy scheme shortlisted for national parliamentary award

  • 13 January 2021

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A pioneering scheme in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire that refers patients to see a pharmacist from their GP practice has been shortlisted for a national NHS Parliamentary Award.

The GP Community Pharmacy Consultation Service is a collaborative pilot scheme between practices and pharmacists. Commissioned by NHE England and NHS Improvement, the scheme helps practice staff to refer registered patients with minor illnesses or urgent medication need, for a same-day consultation with a community pharmacist. It means patients are seen quickly and eases pressures on GPs, freeing up appointments for patients with more complex needs.

The service, which was piloted in Bristol last year and has since been rolled out across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, was nominated for an Excellence in Primary Care Award in the NHS Parliamentary Awards by Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West. It has been selected as the winner for the South West region and is now shortlisted in the national finals of the awards which will be announced in July.

Ian Biggs, NHS England and NHS Improvement South West Director of Primary Care and Public Health Commissioning, said:

This is great recognition for a fantastic pilot that has been welcomed by both healthcare professionals and patients. The Community Pharmacy Consultation Service brings together two parts of the NHS to benefit our patient by improving access to professional healthcare support and advice

Debbie Campbell, Senior Prescribing Advisor at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group said:

We’re really proud to have the success of this project acknowledged with this shortlisting in the NHS Parliamentary Awards. The GP Community Pharmacy Consultation Service is a great example of collaborative working that is of benefit to our practices, pharmacies and above all our patients.

As the fight the Covid-19 pandemic continues, using the right health service is an essential way to help to ease pressure on the NHS. Debbie continued:

Our local health and care services are facing exceptional pressures this winter as Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions continue to rise. The Community pharmacist consultation scheme is a good example of how we can ease pressure on busy services by ensuring people are seen in the most appropriate setting for their needs.

Richard Brown from Avon Local Pharmacy Committee added:

Avon LPC is proud to win the South West “Excellence in Primary Care Award” for the GP Community Pharmacist Consultation Service in this year’s NHS Parliamentary Award and we now progress to the national final in July. This has shown the excellent collaboration between our local CCG and the South West Regional NHSE&I Team. This could not have been possible without the support of our local GP Practices and Community Pharmacies who have worked to support one another in ensuring patients are seen by the right clinician at the right time in the most appropriate primary care setting.

The pilot, which launched in July 2019 received positive feedback from patients and healthcare professionals. Patients are referred to a community pharmacist who is able to give clinical assessments, advice and recommend over- the-counter medicines, using an on-site consultation room. The appointment is shared electronically with the patient’s GP to ensure all their health information is safely stored.

The NHS Parliamentary Awards are an opportunity for Members of Parliament to nominate health and care individuals or organisations to recognise the work that is being done in their local area.

Darren Jones, MP, said:

Well done to GPs and pharmacists across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire for making the shortlist for this year’s Excellence in Primary Care Award. Successful pilots like the GP Community Pharmacies scheme improve healthcare across the country and I’m proud that the Southmead and Henbury practice in my constituency had completed the most GP to pharmacist referrals during this pilot. Congratulations to everyone involved, and I wish you the best of luck in the next stage.

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