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CPE: GPs’ criticism of Pharmacy First is “disappointing”


CPE: GPs’ criticism of Pharmacy First is “disappointing”

Community Pharmacy England has said criticism of Pharmacy First from GPs just three weeks after its launch has been “disappointing” and insisted any “isolated incidents” must be “handled locally without fuelling further media coverage.”

Pharmacy’s negotiator said the negative reaction of some GPs to the service at such an early stage has been in sharp contrast to the “significant amount of positive feedback” it has received from contractors.

Some GPs have been reported in the trade press as claiming pharmacies have redirected patients back to practices because they do not have the capacity to carry out consultations.

There have also been reports that pharmacies cannot take referrals because the IT referral system does not have them listed on it while some pharmacies do not have the equipment to provide Pharmacy First, such as otoscopes.

Thanking pharmacy owners, teams and LPCs “for getting this service up and running,” CPE said: “Teething problems are to be expected with any new service and particularly with one that has gone from announcement to implementation in fewer than 11 weeks.

“You may be aware that concerns about how the service is operating have been raised by some GPs. This is disappointing, but unfortunately is not the first time this has happened when a new service aimed at taking some of the load off GPs has been launched.”

CPE said anyone with concerns about Pharmacy First should contact its media centre and urged pharmacy teams to share any positive feedback with it.

“We’re keen to see these and highlight specific examples of how the service has helped you to better support your patients,” CPE said, insisting NHS England’s Pharmacy First PR campaign which launched on Monday will help “raise awareness of what over 95 per cent of community pharmacies now offer.”

“As public behaviour begins to change, more people will go to their pharmacy first and realise just how valuable pharmacy teams are,” CPE said.

The Department of Health and Social Care has made resources available to pharmacy teams, inlcuding a campaign toolkit, social assets and posters. 

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