Following a successful pilot programme, which resulted in 491 pharmacists working in general practice, the General Practice Forward View committed over £100million to support an extra 1,500 clinical pharmacists to work in general practice by 2020/21, part of a wider expansion of the general practice workforce. Feedback from practices involved in NHS England’s pilot suggests that by employing clinical pharmacists many practices have been able to reduce waiting times for appointments, increase access to healthcare, improve screenings and diagnosis of chronic and common ailments, reduce A&E admissions and attendances and reduce medicines wastage and overuse.
The NHS Alliance and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society put together a list of functions a pharmacist can perform in a GP practice (not an exhaustive list):
- Clinical services - working with GPs and patients to address medicine adherence, reviewing patients on complex medicine regimens, triaging and managing common ailments, responding to acute medicine requests and managing and prescribing for long-term conditions (often in conjunction with the practice nurse)
- Prescription management - dealing with medication for patients recently discharged from hospital, supporting the practice to deliver on the QIPP and QOF agenda and enhanced services, delivering repeat prescription reviews, being the point of contact for all medicine-related queries and overseeing the practice’s repeat prescription policy
- Audit and education
- Medicines management