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Practices invited to bid for £112m clinical pharmacist scheme from next month

GP practices have been invited to submit bids for funding to employ a clinical pharmacist from next month as NHS England officially launched the £112m scheme.

The scheme - as pledged in the GP Forward View - will be open for submissions from 9 January.

The fund will support practices to employ 1,500 more clinical pharmacists across England, and follows a hugely oversubscribed pilot that has already recruited 490 pharmacists working across 650 practices.

NHS England said the pilots had shown having access to pharmacists’ expertise improved prescribing and medicines management, and freed up GP time for patients with more complex needs.

Keith Ridge, chief pharmaceutical officer for England added: ‘The success of the initial pilots has shown the benefits of having more clinical pharmacists in general practice, reducing GP workload and helping ensure patients are seen by the right professional in a more convenient and timely way.’

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the RCGP, said the College was ‘delighted’ the scheme was being expanded, and said: ‘Practice-based pharmacists are playing an increasingly vital role within some GP-led multi-disciplinary teams, carrying out tasks, such as medication reviews and managing repeat prescriptions.

‘This helps cut waiting times for patients by freeing up GPs’ time for patients who really need our clinical expertise.’

The expansion of the scheme builds on Jeremy Hunt’s ‘new deal’ commitment to recruit 5,000 allied health professionals by 2020/21 to help alleviate GP workforce pressures.

NHS England told Pulse it had not decided when applications would have to be completed by, but this would be made clear on launch next month.

 

Readers' comments (9)

  • How about this novel idea? Give the money to general practice. No questions asked.

    In fact give all the money set aside for all these schemes that are designed to alleviate workload or general practice, direct to general practice. No hoops, no boxes, just give it to them.

    And any spare money you have in the future for any other scheme, give it to general practice.

    And see what happens.

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  • Peter Swinyard

    I totally agree with Doctosaurus. Having been called a dinosaur at many LMC events, we have had so much money top sliced from us for Darzisasters, walk in centres, etc etc etc that there is not enough left to run a practice.
    The article does not mention that this is partial funding and that the proportion of the pharmacist's pay which the practice has to meet increases each year towards 100%.
    Um, no thanks.
    And what happened to the 5000 new GPs pledge??? Now 5000 new health workers??? Oh for heavens's sake!

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  • I believe that there are actually more full time GPs now [ albeit concentrated in London ] than last year.
    So, as long as there are GPs willing to work like slaves, there is little point in us protesting.
    Best to just leave if we can

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  • Peter @ 11.06hr
    I wondered that too but the article is right - see page 16 in GPFV!

    We have embraced this project in good faith, and excellent they can be .... but they don't count for a proportion of a GP (unlike an ANP 0.6) so in in a small practice where NHSE say you need 1 GP per 1800 patients the expense is disproportionate, there is an increasing cost year on year in the formula, so where "core" is now non viable and the CCGs are threatening to remove enhanced services to balance their budgets due to activity in secondary care, no matter how excellent they are, they are an expense on our budget, they do leave or relocate but the Pilot does not wind back to the start so there is then less financial support to start the training process again, there are issues with places and timing for the prescribing and clinical skills parts of the training.

    So, the practicalities do need to be considered!

    That said, the webinar (first one down in this link between 9 and 23 minutes
    http://www.rpharms.com/pharmacists-and-gp-surgeries/webinars.asp)
    shows the awesome possibilities of the fully fledged role ( but again there are issues inherent in the training of pharmacists (about making diagnoses and initiating prescriptions) as well as their confidence in safe practice and support which cannot be forced time-wise).

    So, like much of the New Models of Care (and STP vision) the strategic idea may be good but there is a clear lack of appreciation of the challenges of implementation and financing (especially in a demoralised system). We will not be beaten though and continue to source imaginative solutions..... now, if we could look to recruit a paramedic too??

    Happy Christmas one and all!

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  • Sorry should have been addressed to Peter @ 10.41hr.

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  • We work at a faster pace and don't need them if we do it right.
    What we need is a fair share as so many fat cats running large practices and paying little to salaried doctors.....or nurses to do doctoring...even computers are doing this valuable job.
    Why waste 12 years training gps ...maybe we go like dentists who charge the earth after 4-5 years training and 9-5 jobs for £250k

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  • hmm, having helped over 25 practices bid for and obtain pharmacists - and most of them - turn around and say - it was the best decision they ever made - and others beg to join in - im happy there is a second round.

    as to the point about just give the money to GPs... well. isnt that what happens? the GPs keep the money rather than investing it in skill mix or new ways of working? none of those 20+ practice had previously done this - they were desperately trying to recruit more GPs. they were working harder and harder.. now they have been nudged into trying a new way of working and they love it. personally i think more schemes that nudge practices like this are needed. locally we have been playing with physio first - a couple of brave practices have put their hands in their pockets and tried it - and significantly reduced the amount of work their GPs have to do.. will others try it without a bung?

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  • Tried it mate. It's b*ll*cks.

    I struggle to see how any practice a few years into this scheme can get £40,000 worth of value out of it.

    It's nice to have 30 minutes to do a medication review, but completely impractical in managing the deluge of work.

    For that you need GPs.

    Why are there no GPs? Because the service has been deliberately starved of resources. Even now, admitting the problem, NHS England, HEE, DoH, everyone is doing all they can to ensure that not a penny of additional funding reaches General Practice directly. Instead it's channelled through something else designed 'to help with the workload'. How bloody disingenuous can you get?

    Give the money direct to General Practice, everything else will follow. And then you won't need silly schemes like this.

    And by the way, GPs trousering profits? Is General Practice not intended to be a profit making business? Does that make people uncomfortable?

    Nevertheless, if trousering were the only motivation, tell me why there are in fact still GPs around after a decade of reducing profits? Because they actually do care for their businesses, their staff, their patients. Every practice existing now is brave, putting their hands in their pockets to keep going.

    Give the money, everything else will follow.

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  • Not sure pharmacists review meds in the same way as doctors. How meany med reviews do you need doing and ur just going to do it whan they come in for their check up with u or specialist nurse they don't need to see a pharmacist as well. Im sure they would be useful but they can be useful from the pharmacy where they don't cost us anything.
    More money in GP means more GPs and better service ok don't bother then ill keep locumming

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