Reducing the burden on urgent and emergency care services for patients requiring low acuity advice and treatment.
Less than 1% of all NHS111 referrals result in a direction to a community pharmacy. Calls normally default to other primary care locations such as:
- GP, in hours and out of hours
- walk-in centres
These appointments block access to GP appointments for patients with greater clinical need.
Aim of the service
The aim of the service is to appropriately manage patients contacting NHS 111 with low acuity conditions, through referral to a community pharmacy to reduce pressure on the primary and urgent care system, particularly GP out of hours.
The NHS Digital Minor Illness Referral Service (DMIRS) is available in Northumbria, Tyne & Wear, Durham, Darlington and Tees.
What the service will provide
The agreement is for the pharmacy to provide self-care advice and support. This will include printed information to all people referred to the pharmacy by NHS 111, due to a specified low acuity condition.
The end points of the consultation may include:
- advice given only
- advice and the sale of an OTC medicine
- advice and referral into the pharmacy local MAS (dependent on local commissioning arrangements - please see each service specification)
- advice and ‘direct dial’ access to GP to set up appointment (each pharmacy will use a local arrangement for this)
- advice and signpost on to another service
How to access the service
Any patient, even those registered with a GP from outside the North East, can access DMIRS as they would likely still have attended another care location in the area.
To access the service patients must:
- have called NHS111 and been referred are eligible to receive advice and treatment
- be assessed by the pharmacy, potentially being referred to other health and social care professionals, where appropriate
Patients who wish to consult their GP or other health care provider for their condition are still free to do so.
The North East DMIRS will run from 1 April 2018 until 30 September 2019.
Register to provide the service
If you're a pharmacy within the specified North East areas and you intend to provide the service between 1 April 2018 and 30 September 2019, you must register your pharmacy’s details with NHS England first by completing the form on the link below.
This is an online signup so there's no need to return a signed SLA to NHS England.
DMIRS in the specified North East areas has been extended until 30 September 2019.