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700 GP practices to employ clinical pharmacists as NHS pilot expands


So pharmacists in GP practices is a great idea eh? Where is the evidence base for this? Quoting the anecdotal success stories of those enthusiasts who have already engaged in this is unscientific and possibly misleading. In 2011 the RPC and RCGP published a joint paper on the role of pharmacists in General Practice. It was full of hope for the role of pharmacists in GP but was sensibly loaded with caveats about training etc. What has been published since then and what is the quality? What progress has been made in terms of training? Professor Christine Bond wrote an article in the October issue of the BJGP which was very supportive of the use of pharmacists in GP but was severely lacking in substantial evidence as to why we should be following this path. Is this because the evidence does not exist? We need to beware the rising tide of influential characters in our profession who promote popular policy without evidence. What is their agenda? The fact is that there are too few GPs and too many pharmacists. There is no national cap on the number of university places for pharmacists – hence the glut. There are too few places at medical school however, and we are seeing a brain drain as doctors emigrate. Logic would suggest that we should cap the number of places for pharmacists and increase the number for doctors so that people do the job they are trained for. But, of course, the real agenda is to do everything on the cheap and our so called leaders perversely support this. The approach may help (or possibly hinder) in the short term but it is not a long term solution. A workforce crisis should not have us all agreeing to a lowering of standards and nor should general practice be used to find a place for inappropriately trained people who have joined an oversubscribed profession.

Posted date

16 Nov 2015

Posted time