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The waiting game

Every practice should be given a pharmacist, says GPC chair

Exclusive The chair of the GPC has called for the Government to fund a clinical pharmacist in every GP practice in an attempt to expand the workforce and ensure the long-term sustainability of general practice.

Speaking to Pulse ahead of the special LMC conference on Saturday, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said that the Government should look to the Northern Ireland Assembly, which is spending £2.6m on bringing community pharmacists into practices in 2016 and £14m a year by 2020-21 to be made available to all 350 NI GP practices.

He also said that the GPC would act on any call for GPs to submit undated resignations if there is a positive vote at the conference.

The conference will focus on the long-term sustainability of general practice, and will debate motions on whether general practice should become a salaried profession, and whether practices should receive funding of £200 per patient.

But speaking to Pulse, he said that one move the Government should look at was funding a pharmacist in every practice in England.

An NHS England scheme identified 700 practices to take on a clinical pharmacist backed by £31m over three years.

This was a doubling of the original funding pot of £15m as a consequence of higher-than-expected demand, but the pilots are to demonstrate that pharmacists can be self-funding in practices when funding is withdrawn.

But Dr Nagpaul said that managers should go further, and that the 10-point plan for GP recruitment and retention – which is aimed at attracting new trainees, convincing existing GPs to continue in the profession and increase the skill mix within practices – was not enough. 

He said: ‘We need much more than the remit of the 10-point plan. We need to see proper sustained resources to expand a workforce, and a workforce at this moment in time that needs to support GPs.

’We need to follow the lead in NI where every single practice will be supported by a pharmacist as opposed to what we have in England, which are time-limited, one-off funding projects.’

Dr Nagpaul also addressed the motion calling for GPs to submit resignation letters if the Government fails to implement special measures to address the crisis in general practice within six months.

He said if the conference votes in favour of resignation letters, ’of course we will act as the profession asks us to’.

Motions to be debated at the conference

  • That the GPC should request undated resignations from the current NHS contract if a rescue package for general practice is ’not concluded successfully within six months of the end of this conference’
  • The GPC should consider a ballot of GPs regarding what work/ services must cease to reduce the workload to ensure safe and sustainable care for patients
  • Concern at the ‘intensity’ at which GPs are working and calling for a 48-hour per week maximum and a reduction in core hours
  • Separate contractual arrangements for home visits, vaccinations and patients in care homes
  • Reduced bureaucracy for GP returners scheme
  • That the GPC should produce an alternative to the CQC regime of inspections
  • For revalidation to be suspended and the frequency of appraisals to be reduced
  • Increasing the duration of GP appointments to at least 15 minutes.

Follow the conference on Pulse’s live blog from 10:30 on Saturday


Readers' comments (42)

  • We are saved!

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  • I dont want or need a pharmacist. I want a practice nurse to replace the one that is about to retire, as we have had no response to adverts. And I want to be able to replace my senior partner who is going to retire in 12 months time.

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  • I think the phrase is "Pi**ing in the wind."

    Ditch the contract comrades!

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  • I don't want a pharmacist either. I want a District Nursing team like the one I had 15 years ago that I saw on a daily basis and therby prevented hospital admissions much more effectively than these current moronic ineffective ideas.

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  • I want a district nursing service that I could see daily.

    I want more practice nurses.

    I also want a practice based pharmacist to take on medication reviews and constant medication changes as a result of secondary care. On this latter point it would be very good if primary and secondary care could have a joint clinical database, at least for medication, if nothing else.

    While we're at it why can't all hospital letters to primary care have a short paragraph of action points for GPs, for example medication changes. Some hospital doctors do this but it is very variable and some still hide important issues in the middle of three pages of A4

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  • wouldn't it be better to have more doctors ? It is more expensive but much more efficient .

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  • Interesting that two commentators want the sort of District Nursing service that they used to have. Well, you are now (theoretically!) the commissioners so it's in your hands...

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  • Most hospitals now dump non-urgent outpatient prescriptions onto GP's. Well done BMA for doing sweet FA to resist this. And a further well done for giving GP's the opportunity to employ pharmacists to do this work - we needed another cost pressure and another member of staff to be responsible for.
    The BMA is a joke and we all know it.
    Ditch the contract comrades!

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  • Andrew Martin | Pharmacist28 Jan 2016 10:43am

    Individual GPs, not sitting on CCG boards have very little control over commissioning. Even GP board members can do very little as decisions regarding district nurses is made At a higher level

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  • No thanks. As above, district nurses, health visitors (remember them, anyone?), practice nurses and doctors needed instead of ever more re-organisations and expensive "initiatives" to fragment care even further. It used to work before political meddling escalated; it could be made to work again.

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