GP Referral to CPCS

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).  From summer 2021 the resources to support GPs in Lincolnshire had been rolled out and we envisaged a gradual increase in referrals as we moved from autumn into winter 2021 and then into 2022.


Important update for Pharmacists, 17th May 2022: 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.

Some GPCPCS referrals will arrive via PharmOutcomes, if the GP surgery use the relevant IT interface, in which case you follow the same process as you would for 111 CPCS referral for non-attendees: there is a box to indicate ‘patient did not attend’ on PharmOutcomes.

If referrals arrive via email the process is slightly different. 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 or they arrive in PharmOutcomes if an integrated system is used by the GP practice.
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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Initial Training

We  hosted some Lincolnshire specific events for pharmacies, to allow some discussion and an opportunity to ask questions. The recordings of these events are below.

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Resources to Support GP Practices with Implementation

Updated 7th April 2022

Please note Lincolnshire CCG have recently agreed NHS England funding for one year until 31st December 2022 for a system that will make referral easier for GP practices (both EMIS & TTP) using EMIS web-based software.  


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 was shared with the PCN Clinical Directors, the Locality Leads and the PCN Managers in Spring 2021.  Some of the contents are available to download below.  Those pharmacies signed up for  the service can be found on the Directory of Services (DOS). The initial toolkit included some suggested scripts for front line triage staff and downloadable referral forms, which GP practices should have received directly from their PCN representatives.  We can provide copies of the suggested scripts on request.  Referral guides for both EMIS and SystmOne practices can be found at the links below.

It is important to ensure that you have an up-to-date email address recorded on the Pinnacle system. The pilot sites revealed that if the wrong practice email address is recorded on the system, or if this is missing then you will not receive the confirmation and summary back from the pharmacy once the consultation has been completed.

It is a good idea to send a test patient to your local pharmacy in the first instance when you decide to start using GPCPCS and liaise with them to ensure the technology is functioning for the entire patient journey.

GP surgeries should request the suggested triage scripts if needed via an email to 

GP Toolkit update April 2022

Guide For System One Practices using PharmRefer

Guide for System One Practices not using Pharm Refer

Guide for EMIS Practices using the EMIS Web Patient Access Connect App

Guide For EMIS Practices Without EMIS Web Patient Access Connect App

A Word version of GP Referral into Pharmacy form can be accessed here.

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 shown 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