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Pharmacy Training

CPCS Training Course – NHS Consultation Service

By October 18, 2019 January 21st, 2020 No Comments

MediaPharm’s Introduction to CPCS Training Course

MediaPharm provides training for the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service. Our CPCS training course is designed to get you and your team up to speed and helping patients as quickly as possible.

Access the CPCS Training Course now or read on for more information about this NHS service.

What you and your team need to know

In this CPCS vid:

  • The six steps you need to take for success.

  • Why it’s being introduced.

  • How you can get your hands on FREE training for your team.

What is CPCS?

The NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) is an Advanced Service and part of the pharmacy contract (England only). This bitesize course will help you deliver the service successfully to patients and ensure they get the medicines and appropriate advice they need.

It is intended as a quick overview of the service for the pharmacy support team and you will need to refer to your pharmacy’s SOP for more details. Pharmacists can use this course as an introduction to the service but need to refer to the Service Specifications, the Toolkit for Pharmacy Staff and the Self-Assessment Framework for full details (see Resources later).

Learning outcomes

  • Follow the correct procedure for delivering the service to patients
  • Work as a team to make the service a success
  • Help patients understand CPCS, how it works and answer their questions
  • Raise awareness of pharmacy’s involvement in CPCS


This course will take you approximately 10 minutes to complete. The videos are additional and optional but have been included to accommodate different learning styles and to help enhance the learning.

Why should I get involved?

CPCS is designed to help patients get a consultation with the pharmacist for urgent medicines or for advice on minor illnesses without delay and without adding a burden on out-of-hours GP services and resources. The pharmacy team needs to be prepared to deal effectively with patients who have been referred by NHS 111.

Introducing the service

The NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) is a new Advanced Service which involves NHS 111 advisors referring callers to their nearby pharmacy for a consultation on a minor illness or for urgent prescriptions. The purpose is to relieve the burden on A&E and GP surgeries and reduce the delay in patients getting much-needed medicines. Because the pharmacy is open longer hours and is accessible in the community, it makes it an ideal setting for patients to go to.
The CPCS replaces two services that were previously piloted and that your pharmacy may have been involved in: NHS Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Scheme (NUMSAS) and Digital Minor Illness Referral Service (DMIRS).
The CPCS service starts on 29 October 2019 and applies to England ONLY.

The pharmacy’s involvement

A pharmacy intending to offer the service must register on the Manage Your Service (MYS) site on the NHSBSA website. For pharmacies that are part of a chain, this will be done by Head Office (but check if this is the case for your pharmacy). There may be some pharmacies in your area that are not involved in CPCS, and this is something to bear in mind if customers ask.
When a member of the public calls NHS 111 the call advisor will decide what the best course of action is. If it is to get urgent repeat prescription medicines or a consultation on a minor illness, they will give the patient a choice of two participating pharmacies closest to them. The call advisor will then send a referral message via the CPCS IT system (and copied to NHSmail) to the patient’s preferred pharmacy. The message will explain why the patient is being referred so that the pharmacist can prepare ahead of the consultation in the pharmacy. The pharmacist will then decide whether or not to supply the prescription medicine or, in the case of a minor illness, what the best course of action is (advice and/or OTC treatment for purchase or referral).

Getting ready

CPCS is a service that involves the whole pharmacy team. Its success relies on everyone being prepared and knowledgeable about the service and working together to help the patients in their community. Here are some important steps that everyone needs to take to get started:

  • Read, understand and sign the SOP paying particular attention to what your roles and responsibilities are
  • Make sure you are familiar with your pharmacy’s process for regularly checking NHS 111 referrals
  • Make sure you have an NHSmail address or access to the pharmacy’s shared one
  • Make sure you have login details to access the NHS CPCS IT system (PharmOutcomes or Sonar, check with your pharmacist or head office)
  • If you are a counter assistant make sure you are up to date on your knowledge of minor ailments and the associated products so you can make confident recommendations and give self-care advice
  • If you are part of the support team, refer to the pharmacist any patients who phone or arrive at your pharmacy saying they have a referral from NHS 111

Why is this service important?

CPCS showcases how the pharmacy is able to both support patients and help alleviate pressure on the NHS. CPCS was created on the success of its two predecessor services, NUMSAS and DMIRS:

NUMSAS findings*:

  • NHS 111 made over 66,000 referrals to NUMSAS-registered community pharmacies between December 2016 and March 2018.
  • Over 3,800 pharmacies across England are participating in this pilot service as of May 2018, dispensing over 72,600 items.
  • The pilot scheme had saved 38,900 GP appointments between December 2016 and December 2017.
  • A quarter (18,528) of NUMSAS cases between December 2016 and 2018 were recorded as ‘no supply’. The most common reason for this was that the pharmacist considered there was ‘no urgent clinical need for the prescription items’.

* Pulse 5 June 2018

DMIRS findings:

  • In the first four months of operation over 5,000 patients had been referred – saving the equivalent of 11 weeks of GP time.
  • Patients reported high satisfaction rates – not having to wait for a GP appointment and reassured that their case will be escalated for medical help if necessary.


The service benefits patient, pharmacy and GP resources.

How to do it

If you were already involved with NUMSAS or the DMIRS pilot you’ll be familiar with some of the processes. The processes for CPCS amalgamates these two services.

As a member of the support team it is useful to have an overview of the whole process, including the pharmacist’s role, so you can see where you fit in and also to help you explain the process to the patient. The full details of the service are in the CPCS Toolkit for Pharmacy (see Resources).

Role of pharmacy support team

Before you start, make sure you have access to the NHS CPCS IT system and to the pharmacy’s NHSmail and that you are checking this regularly throughout the day as outlined in your pharmacy’s SOP.

  • The first that you will know of a patient requiring this service is when a message is sent from NHS 111 to your NHS CPCS IT system (and via NHSmail), or the patient phones or arrives in your pharmacy.
  • If the patient phones or arrives in your pharmacy saying they have been referred by NHS 111, check they have come to the correct pharmacy. If they have, refer them to the pharmacist who will check for a message from NHS 111 and take them to the consultation room to assess their needs. All pharmacists including locums have access to Smartcard which allows them to access the NHS Summary Care Records (SCR) to find information they may need during the consultation.
  • Remember, some people coming into the pharmacy may forget to mention that they have been referred for a minor illness from NHS 111. Always ask if they have been referred. If you sell them an OTC treatment without referring them to the pharmacist, the pharmacy will not be able to claim for the consultation. Always check if they have been referred by NHS 111.

Role of pharmacist

For emergency supply

  • If the pharmacist deems it appropriate they will provide the patient with an emergency supply of their medicine and give them further advice about steps they can take to prevent a future need for emergency supplies. This could also include raising awareness of the electronic repeat dispensing service.
  • If the pharmacist deems that it is NOT appropriate to make an emergency supply (e.g. item requested is a controlled drug or not in stock) they will signpost the patient for further support.

For minor illness

  • The pharmacist will decide whether to refer for medical help, refer to a local commissioned service (e.g. Minor Ailment Service for free OTC medicines) or give self-care advice and/or sell a suitable OTC medicine. If it’s self-care and OTC medicines then the pharmacist may decide to refer to the counter staff to continue the consultation at the counter.

CPCS Training Community PharmacyPayments

  • A £14 fee will be paid for each completed NHS CPCS consultation, whether it is for an urgent prescription item supply or a referral for a minor illness consultation.
  • The cost of the medicines or appliances supplied to patients as an urgent supply can also be claimed. The patient pays their normal prescription fees to the pharmacy (or get it free if they are exempt).
  • Any medicines recommended for a minor illness referral need to be paid for by the patient as the costs of these medicines cannot be claimed from the NHS.

If your pharmacy receives a referral from NHS 111 and the patient does not come in then a payment cannot be claimed.

Putting learning into action

  • Prepare to answer patients’ questions about the service
  • Familiarise yourself with your role and the role of the other team members
  • Make sure you have access to the CPCS IT system and the pharmacy’s NHSmail
  • Familiarise yourself with your pharmacy’s SOP

Access CPCS Training Course from MediaPharm

This bitesize CPCS training course has everything you and your team need to get up to speed with the new consultation service.

Access the CPCS training course now