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Independents' Day

Practices share £100,000 to employ pharmacists in £1m savings drive

Practices in one area of England are being funded by their CCG to employ pharmacists in a bid to save £1m from overall prescribing costs.

NHS Bassetlaw CCG, in Nottinghamshire, has agreed to invest £100,000 across its 12 practices, according to list size, for practices to employ pharmacists on a sessional basis.

It is hoping that the scheme will save £1m through reducing waste and increasing efficiency, including by reviewing repeat prescriptions and checking care home prescriptions.

It comes as NHS England is set to announce next month the pilots that have been successful in receiving a share of the £15m fund for practices to recruit and employ clinical pharmacists.

NHS Bassetlaw CCG is funding its own scheme itself.

Its most recent board papers, from its September meeting, said: ’The CCG has agreed to fund £100,000 spit between each practice according to list size for pharmacist time in each practice

’If the CCG hit the £1m savings the CCG will reinvest £100k based on the list size of each practice.’

Dr Steve Kell, chair of Bassetlaw CCG, said pharmacists would help reduce waste and increase efficiency – for example, by reviewing repeat prescriptions to check that patients are taking the medicines and getting the right ones and checking that dressings in nursing homes are being prescribed efficiently.

He said: ’It’s hard for GPs to do all this [prescribing] on their own. They’re very busy and need additional support.’

In July, NHS England said it would spend £15m to recruit clinical pharmacists to GP practices.

Over the next three years, 300 pharmacists will be employed directly by practices - likely as part of federations - in ‘areas of greatest need where GPs are under greatest pressure’.

NHS England said it will fund 60% of the costs of the pharmacists to the practices for the first 12 months of employment, which will decrease to 40% for the second year and 20% for the third year.

NHS England said that the pharmacists will be involved in providing clinical advice and expertise on treatments; developing bespoke medicine plans for individual patients; monitoring patients with complex long term conditions such as hypertension or diabetes; and managing repeat prescription requests.

A spokesperson told Pulse: ’Next month we will be announcing the pilots taking part in the £15m scheme to fund, recruit and employ clinical pharmacists in GP surgeries as part of efforts to promote new ways of working.’

Readers' comments (10)

  • When your employment law kicks in after a year, we'll discuss this unless you are giving time limited contracts to Pharmacists which I wonder how many of them would be keen to flirt with.

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  • The investment would be worth it if it saved £100001 so why the 10x factor?
    Not to mention the increased safety and improved quality and outcomes pharmacists working in synergy with GPs and nurses brings.
    Yes Im a CCG pharmacist

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  • If the CCG hit the £1m savings the CCG will reinvest £100k based on the list size of each practice.’

    and who picks up the bill if the required savings are not made?

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  • We have a CCG pharmacist that works very closely with us (although employed by the CCG).

    I think it works extremely well. It saves the CCG lots of money and she is pretty good at backing up the surgery when it comes to complaints about us stopping expensive drugs.

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  • finding a good pharmacist is the key

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  • community pharmacists should be doing this already. instead they milk the NHS for what it's worth for dispensing fees, even when they aren't dispensing the meds. we all know they do it.

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  • It's the job of a GP to review prescriptions. I would go further and suggest that a GP should be held liable for prescriptions that are no longer clinically indicated. How difficult can it be for a GP to review medications. This is a rediculous waste of money for something GPs should be doing anyway.

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  • Anonymous | Pharmacist12 Oct 2015 6:28pm

    If you can only make gross saving of a pound after investing 100K, then it's not worth while. A more efficient method of saving needs to be done with that 100K, what you are suggesting is terrible waste of resources.

    Gordon Johnstone | Other healthcare professional13 Oct 2015 11:43am

    You are obviously too narrow vision to look at the whole picture. Let me show you where the difficulty is. Clinically, it's not difficult to review medications as only a small number of them are specialist meds. Time is the limiting factor - We have 4100 patients on repeat scripts. That's roughly 1/2 of the patients we have at my surgery with 4 partners. Thats's just over 1000 scripts/year/GP. If we took 10 minutes each on average (including contacting patients), that's 10000 minuts (or 166 hours) lost/year. As I spend roughly 7 hours/day in surgery (about 3-4 hours on paper work), this means 23 day's worth of face to face consultation lost/GP i.e. about a month lost every year/GP. NHS can't afford such as loss.

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  • it is malpractice to prescribe medication that is no longer indicated. The lawyers would have a field day if they thought this was happening. By the very admission that the nhs could save a million means that inappropriate prescribing is going on. Your patient commitment comes first and to say that I am prescribing meds as a GP which may no longer be needed because I don't have the time is a rediculous thing to say. I want my doc to prescribe for me because the benefits out weigh the risks. Is this too much to ask.

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  • Gordon Johnstone | Other healthcare professional13 Oct 2015 12:28pm

    Don't think you've ever worked in NHS have you?

    I don't prescribe any medication patient (or their chemist as their nominated deputy) has not asked for on repeat script. Repeat prescription allows easier authorizations of the medications on the computer system and it will only be triggered by patient/chemist requesting them. If you worked in NHS, you'd know this.

    I found it difficult to understand how this would be a fraud. We do know however, there are many chemists who orders meds on patient's behalf without asking the patients - this is in breach of their contract with NHS and is a fraud.

    Often the cost savings are made by stopping such practice as well as looking for cheaper alternative to the same/similar medications. NHS however cannot afford to loose a month of GP time every year to do this as it is simply not cost effective - amount of AED attendance, hospital admissions, worsening health etc which will occur by loosing GP time will like out strip the cost saving. Hence my comment.

    But I guess you won't understand any of that as you are not really a professional or in NHS are you?

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