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CCA: Pharmacy First feedback has been ‘positive’ despite GPs’ grumbles

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CCA: Pharmacy First feedback has been ‘positive’ despite GPs’ grumbles

The Company Chemists’ Association chief executive Malcolm Harrison has responded to reports that GPs have raised concerns pharmacies are directing Pharmacy First patients back to general practice for a variety of reasons by insisting “the overwhelming feedback from patients and pharmacists” about the service “is positive.”

Harrison (pictured) was reacting to a story in Pulse last week that “a number of GPs” had aired concerns that pharmacies were sending patients back to GPs because they did not have the capacity to see them or because pharmacists did not have “appropriate equipment to carry out the consultations,” such as otoscopes.

One GP, Emma Nash who is based in Hampshire, told Pulse her local pharmacies informed her they can only “accept one or two referrals” from the practice a day and claimed the closest pharmacy cannot take referrals because “the referral IT system still doesn’t have them listed on it” despite “the pharmacist (spending) months trying to get them on the community pharmacy referral scheme.”

However, Harrison insisted the feedback from patients and pharmacists was that “timely care” was “being provided in a professional manner.”

“Onward referral to other clinicians, where necessary, is an important part of the Pharmacy First service, and ensuring robust referral pathways with local GPs is essential,” he said.

“We are confident that Pharmacy First will continue to be positively received by patients who need urgent access to primary care.”

Earlier this month, the health minister Nick Markham told the House of Lords that 3,000 Pharmacy First consultations were carried out in the three days after its launch and played down concerns pharmacies providing the service could be overwhelmed.

He said the “early indications” were Pharmacy First, which started on January 31, was being “managed well.”

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