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Independents' Day

Every practice in England to get access to a clinical pharmacist

NHS England has pledged that every practice in England will gain access to a clinical pharmacist, in a £112m expansion of its current pilot.

The General Practice Forward View said this would finance a further 1,500 pharmacists working in general practice, or one across every 30,000-patient footprint, which could relieve pressure on busy GPs.

The report said ‘early indications’ from the popular GP clinical pharmacist pilot had showed that it had led to improvements of the ’practice prescription processes, medicines optimisation, minor ailments and long term conditions management’.

It stated that, as ‘appetite for the original pilot scheme was high’ NHS England will now ‘roll [the scheme] out further across the country over the next five years, so that every practice can benefit’.

It said it would also ’open up the clinical pharmacist training programme to practices that have directly funded a clinical pharmacist’.

The investment annouced for training non-GP workforce, in line with Jeremy Hunt’s ‘new deal’ pledge to deliver 5,000 additional general practice staff, will see:

  • £15 million invested in practice nurse development, including return to work schemes, improving nurse training capacity in general practice, and improving retention;
  • £45 million extra funding nationally over five years so that every practice in the country can help their reception and clerical staff play a greater role in care navigation, signposting patients and handling clinical paperwork to free up GP time;
  • £6 million for practice manager development;
  • Pilots to explore the role of physiotherapist services in general practice, and a new ‘medical assistant’ role.

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Readers' comments (12)

  • Can't possibly be early indications of a pilot which started 21 days ago - rather a pre-drawn conclusion.

    And the pilot is intended to make a pharmacist a member of the practice team -something they can't possibly be at a scale of 30k patients. That's a weekly "how's your father" at best.

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  • Is the missing half of the headline here "whether they like it or not" ?

    Is there a cash alternative? I've got lots of other things I'd rather spend on than a 22 year old with a green biro who plans to transfer all my diabetics onto new testing strips. Again.

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  • I don't think you should be worried about switches. I'm a practice pharmacist and it is not my remit to conduct product switches. The medicines management pharmacist from the clinical support unit provide pharmacists and technicians to perform product/formulary switches. My remit to to prevent inappropriate polypharmacy improve quality of care and optimize medication. I think some general practitioners perhaps need to speak to other members of their profession who have had experience with a clinical pharmacist working in their surgery.

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  • My experience of every medicines management pharmacy switch is a swathe of appointments being used over the next 6 weeks with patients wanting to revert back again.

    Why is the cost of wasted GP time never factored into the 'savings made'? Oh, thats right I forgot, you dont pay for our time so wasting our time is FREE.

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  • We have 2 of these funded by our Vanguard.


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  • @1:51 - could you expand?!
    What did you expect of them?
    What couldn't they do that you thought they should?

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  • "£6 million for practice manager development" ???

    Is this to help them be nice??

    Not enough!! :-)

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  • I love the arrogance of GPs and contractor pharmacists. Both think they are so intelligent and everyone else is a dunce. But I know hospital doctors refer to GPs as experts in GOOGLE and let's not even start on pharmacists....

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  • We need some long term thinking. Will this funding for pharmacists carry on or are we left with the salary to pay in a few years?

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  • My surgery has self funded a in house Pharmacist for about 5 years now - indeed we have just employed a second one (we are 23000 pts and 15 docs) they are amazing - im convinced they take at least an hour a days work off me if not more. they do 4 main things. 1. in one survey 28% of all enquiries at our reception desk were medicines related - they now deal with these 2. CDM clinics - they help run these - there is some evidence they are better at up titrating medicines than some of our nurses. 3. they supervise the rpt prescribing process - provide help advice and support to all prescribers which includes - reviewing all discharge medications, post opd drug changes, handling queries from pts etc. and 4. they massively help in education training audit in the practice. on almost every measure we are one of the highest quality practices in the area.

    the only thing i would say is primary care pharmacist is a different role - ive just interview 12 pharmacists for other local practices inc a mix of hospital, mmt, community pharmacists - while we have chosen a range - none of them do the exact job ours do and cant be expected to jump straight into the role. we built up the role over 5 years. one of the best decisions we ever made.

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