The GP workforce crisis may present an opportunity for community pharmacists to provide more services, a new report suggests.
The report from the pharmacists’ representative body, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee says GP recruitment challenges coupled with the shift of workload from hospitals to primary care could offer the chance for pharmacists to take on more of the existing general practice workload.
The PSNC’s Vision for Community Pharmacies outlined in the report also includes pharmacists working more closely with GPs, taking on more management of long-term conditions, focusing on a single area at a time such as asthma to boost pharmacists’ - and GPs’ - confidence in pharmacists’ ability to manage patients.
Pharmacists should also take on a wider role in the management of minor illnesses, the report suggests.
The report says: ‘On the face of it, greater general practice provision of services may not be welcomed by community pharmacy contractors eager to provide more services to the local population; however it may in fact present an opportunity for community pharmacy.
‘This development could prompt the shift of existing workload within the general practice to community pharmacy, where there is a need to create capacity in general practices to allow the provision of new services previously provided by secondary care.
’GP recruitment challenges that are anticipated in many areas due to the retirement of a significant number of GPs over the next few years and the predicted shortage of nurses may also provide impetus for the shifting of specific tasks to community pharmacy.’
It adds: ‘Community pharmacy itself also needs to demonstrate the ability to provide services to a consistently high quality in order to enhance its relationships with GPs.’