Community Pharmacy Consultation Service (CPCS)

Updated 06/07/2021

Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS)

The service connects patients who have a minor illness or need an urgent supply of a medicine with a community pharmacy.The CPCS takes referrals to community pharmacy from NHS 111 (and NHS 111 online for requests for urgent supply), and more recently, GP practices have been able to refer patients with minor acuity conditions into the service. The CPCS aims to relieve pressure on the wider NHS by connecting patients with community pharmacy, which should be their first port of call and can deliver a swift, convenient and effective service to meet their needs.The CPCS provides the opportunity for community pharmacy to play a bigger role than ever within the urgent care system.To register to provide this service, the contractor must complete the CPCS registration declaration within the MYS portal.Once registered for the service contractors must be able to receive and complete any referrals made to them, as referrals could commence at any time following registration. A pharmacy’s registration on the MYS portal will be notified to the local Directory of Service lead and a profile for the CPCS service will be set up for the pharmacy. Only at that point will patients be referred to the contractor. Pharmacies do not need to register seperately to receive referrals from GPs; once registered for CPCS contractors must be able to receive and manage


When a pharmacy provides the service, they can claim a £14 fee per completed consultation.

This payment model will be reviewed for 2021/22 onwards, depending on factors such as volume of service.

All payments must be claimed via the NHSBSA Manage Your Service (MYS) portal; no paper-based claims process is available for the service. The CPCS IT system (Sonar or PharmOutcomes) will be able to pre-populate claim information in MYS each month, so that the contractor then just needs to login to MYS at the start of the following month to confirm that the information is correct and to submit the claim.

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From 1st April 2020, the pharmacy must have IT equipment accessible within the consultation room to allow contemporaneous records of the CPCS consultations to be made within the CPCS IT system. PharmOutcomes are contracted to provide the IT support for the service for the current year.

More information and updates can be found on the PSNC website –

Referrals may be received via PharmOutcomes or NHS mail and contractors must ensure that these are accessible throughout their opening hours, and are checked regularly during the pharmacy’s opening hours.

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Pharmacists providing the CPCS should read the service specification and the CPCS Toolkit to be clear on what is expected of them and how the CPCS should be provided.

The necessary knowledge and skills required are a core competency for all pharmacists, but those wishing to provide the CPCS should ensure that they:

  • are able to explain the service to patients and carers;
  • have an up to date understanding of the Human Medicines Regulations;
  • are able to communicate with and advise patients appropriately and effectively on low acuity conditions;
  • are able to assess the clinical needs of patients, including the identification of red flags; and
  • are able to act on the referrals received and make appropriate referrals to other NHS services and healthcare professionals.

A CPPE CPCS self-assessment tool is available on the NHSBSA website to help pharmacists to assess their learning needs in relation to the service.

Pharmacists wanting to further develop their history taking, red flag identification and clinical assessment skills may find the following helpful:

Please note that for both of these, pharmacists will need to complete the CPPE essential skills e-course before attending. If booking the CPPE course, enrolment on this is automatic, but for the RPS workshops this will need to be done manually. More information can be found here.

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GP referral to CPCS

From 1st November 2020, the CPCS was extended across England to include referrals from general practices as well as from NHS 111.

GPs can refer patients to community pharmacies to receive a CPCS consultation for minor illness (unlike NHS 111, GPs cannot refer patients for an urgent supply of a medicine or appliance).

Local implementation

NHSE Midlands have been working with LPCs to roll out the GP-CPCS service. In Lincolnshire we have two early adopter sites, in Mablethorpe and Swineshead, but over the summer we expect the majority of GP practices to begin to implement CPCS referrals to pharmacies.

We have discussed the following rollout plans with the LMC and GP practices in Lincolnshire. Please note that these dates do not mean that you will start receiving referrals from these dates (although you may do so); these are simply suggested start dates for the implementation:

Date Location/PCN
06/04/2021 Marisco Medical Practice, Mablethorpe
17/05/2021 Swineshead Practice, Boston
14/06/2021 Boston PCN
Apex PCN
Marina PCN
South Lincoln PCN
Trent PCN
28/06/2021 All remaining Lincolnshire loctions:
First Costal PCN
East Lindsey PCN
South Lincs and Rural PCN
Market Deeping and Spalding PCN
Grantham and Rural PCN

Important update, 20th October 2021: GPCPCS Not contactable/no show patient process

The GPCSCS roll out is building slowly across the county, with slow but increasing interest in the service from general practice, likely resulting from specific targets to engage with community pharmacies and to use the CPCS service included in PCNs’ incentive scheme announced for 2021-22 and 2022-23, as reported in the 30th September update.

Unlike with 111 CPCS referrals, where there is a box to indicate ‘patient did not attend’ on PharmOutcomes, there is no such facility for GPCPCS referrals, as they arrive via email (as shown on the flow chart below). As you know the process agreed in Lincolnshire is that the patient will ring the pharmacy.  However, this may not happen.The patient may walk-in to the pharmacy and say they have been referred from the GP, in which case you would just find the referral on mail BUT there may be patients who do not ring or turn up, the process in that instance is suggested to be as follows:

1. You find the GPCPCS referral when checking your store mailbox.
2. You attempt to contact the patient up to three times.
3. If you are unable to contact them after three separate attempts then you will need to email back the GP surgery advising them that the patient has not attended, so that they can then follow up.  This ‘closes the loop’ within the system.


Pharmacies who are signed up to CPCS are automatically required to do the GP referrals too; contractors cannot choose to only undertake referrals from NHS111.

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Pharmacy Implementation Payments – Deadline 30th June

Pharmacies registered to provide the CPCS can claim a £300 engagement and setup payment if they undertake a range of actions to get ready for rolling out the referral pathway in their area by 30th June 2021. The requirements are detailed in Annex F of the updated service specification and claims need to be made via the NHSBSA’s Manage Your Service portal by 5th July 2021.

Update: The deadline for claiming the £300 engagement and set up payment for the GP Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (GP CPCS) has been extended until 11.59pm on Wednesday 7th July 2021

You are able to claim this if you complete the activities in the pre go-live checklist in Annex F, even if the service is not yet actively rolled out in your area.


This includes a requirement to engage with local delivery partners and attending a meeting with pharmacies and potentially GPs to support the rollout of GP referrals.The Midlands regional NHSE&I team have stated that attending one of the webinars they hosted at the end of last year counts as appropriate engagement for points a) and b) in Annex F to enable contractors to claim the £300 fee, alongside the necessary toolkit reviews etc.  If you did not attend the NHS Midlands Region webinar then having watched a recording of one or both of these webinars is considered sufficient to be able to achieve points a) and b) of Annex F too

Unfortunately, recordings of these sessions are no longer available. The Regional NHSE&I team have shared details of  different resources to support pharmacies with this, which  have been developed with the Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, Primary Care Pharmacy Association and NHSE&I. These be accessed below:

We also hosted some Lincolnshire specific events for pharmacies, to allow some discussion and an opportunity to ask questions. The recordings of these events are below, viewing one of these webinars would also count as engagement for the completion of annex F

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Resources to Support GP Practices with Implementation

Engagement with local surgeries is key to the development of this service. To support this, Community Pharmacy Lincolnshire have worked with the LMC to produce a Local Toolkit; this has been shared with the PCN Clinical Directors, the Locality Leads and the PCN Managers.  Some of the contents are available to download below.  The toolkit also included a contact list for participating Lincolnshire  pharmacies at launch, some suggested scripts for front line triage staff and an EMIS compatible referral form (if applicable) (SystmOne forms can be downloaded as per guidance in the GP Introduction and Important Steps sheet), which GP practices should have received directly from their PCN representatives, but can be provided to them by us on request.  GP surgeries should request them if needed via an email to 

GP Toolkit

We also ran two webinars for GP Practices and PCNs to help them to understand the key elements of the service and ask questions. Recordings of these webinars are available be below.  Watching one of these will give you an overview of the service. The 9th June webinar is suggested if you are watching just one as the 17th June webinar is missing the first part due to technical difficulties on the night.  Whilst both cover the same presentation content, the questions form GP colleagues at the end are different.

An overview of the service giving more information and a step by step flow chart of the process can be found on the following documents:

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Resources to Support Pharmacy Teams

As well as the training resources above, The PSNC website has a range of resources and materials to support pharmacy implementation of GP referral to CPCS. In addition, the materials below are specific to Lincolnshire:

Below are some of the video resources from VirtualOutcomes that briefly explain the service and the benefits for pharmacy teams, GPs, and patients.

VirtualOutcomes also have a range of training materials and resources for the whole pharmacy team on CPCS. You can download the flyer for these below:

A summary newsletter providing advice to pharmacies keen to engage with GPs in their area was circulated to contractors on 12th August 2021,  It also included a contractor GPCPCS ‘toolkit’.  It can be accessed here