Pharmacists in General Practice

General practice, like all other areas in the health system, is suffering from incessant demand caused in part by an ageing population. Pressures in general practice have reached an all-time high. The shortage in GPs is set to worsen as the number who plan to leave the profession in the next five years is at an “all-time high”, according to a new survey carried out by University of Manchester researchers. Nine out of 10 GPs reported experiencing considerable or high pressure from “increasing workloads” in the same report. To meet the demand of an ageing population with more chronic conditions there will need to be an increase in the number of clinicians. This will be essential in primary care as more complex care is being delivered  in  the  community. 

An increasing number of GP practices are recruiting clinical pharmacists to address different aspects of workforce need. This will help GPs manage the demands on their time.

By expanding the practice team to include pharmacists, brings other skills and attributes to the team, which can reduce GP workload in terms of reduction in waiting times for appointments, improved patient health outcomes, increased access to healthcare, improved screening and diagnosis of chronic and common ailments, reduced A&E admissions and attendances, reduced medicines wastage and overuse, and overall pharmacists are able to identify prescribing errors and make improvements to prescribing, which in turn improves patient safety concerning use of their medicines. The pharmacists’ skills and knowledge are a huge benefit to the GP Practices and the patients and patients receive the best care in the most effective way.


What skills an Independent Prescribing Pharmacist can bring to the practice and its patients?

  • Providing expertise in clinical medicines reviews and addressing public health and patients' social care needs.

  • Ensuring safe, effective, rational use of medicines.

  • Developing and running pharmacist-led clinics, such as medicines use reviews and chronic condition management.

  • Screening, diagnosis and initiation of treatment and follow-up appointments in patients with long-term conditions.

  • Monitoring patients taking high-risk medicines or those with a narrow therapeutic index.

  • Triaging patients to appropriate practice services and/or healthcare professionals.

  • Reconciling medicines following hospital discharge and working with patients and community pharmacists to ensure patients receive the medicines they need following discharge.

  • Managing repeat prescribing reauthorisation procedures by reviewing requests for repeat prescriptions and medicines reaching review dates.

  • Managing medicines queries from patients and healthcare professionals.

  • Monitoring long-term conditions and identifying any early deterioration.

  • Providing medicines information and training to practice healthcare professionals and other staff.

  • Reviewing pathology results for patients on known medicines.

  • Conducting home visits.

  • Helping prepare for CQC visits.

  • Implementing drug alerts and withdrawals, for example, MHRA alerts.

  • They can provide child and adult immunisations, spirometry, phlebotomy, diabetic foot checks, cardiovascular risk assessments, NHS health checks, dementia screening and falls risk assessments, among other services.

Need a GP pharmacist for your practice? 

Register your interest here.

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