So what can GP pharmacists actually do in practice?
In my practice, I complete all the medication reviews, process hospital discharges, make sure outpatient treatment requests are completed, and run polypharmacy clinics. I also undertake clinical audits, run training for other healthcare professionals, and process acute requests for medication. All of these tasks were previously carried out by GPs and what it means is that I have freed up large chunks of GP time.
This time can be used in many different ways:
- Running extra clinical sessions which improves access and decreases waiting times.
- Allow GPs to leave work on time improving work-life balance and job satisfaction and therefore improving retention rates.
There are also other benefits:
- Improve services – the time can be used to develop the service offered to patients by introducing new specialist clinics or develop inter-practice relationships.
- Saving money – pharmacist costs significantly less than a GP so for cash-strapped practices, it may be a way of hitting budgets.
I’m sure any one of the above are attractive to most practices.
The roll out of the GP pharmacists will be complete in the next month or two so please be patient if your pharmacist doesn’t arrive in practice for a little while, rest assured they are coming.
I’ve used a phrase since I started working with areas that deploy practice pharmacists which I think should offers a glimpse into the potential for the role:
“After initial diagnosis and prescribing then all aspects of a patient’s care relating to medication, should be within the remit of a practice pharmacist.”
What will your practice do with this new resource?