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Clinical Pharmacists: The Unsung Heroes of the NHS

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Do Clinical Pharmacists really have what it takes to improve general practice?

Practices are now making use of the expertise of other healthcare professionals, such as nurses, physicians associates and pharmacists. More recently, a large number of Pharmacists were deployed to primary care, as part of NHS England’s initiative to recruit 2,000 clinical pharmacists by 2020-21 and this number is steadily growing. This article will explore some of the benefits of employing clinical pharmacists in a GP practice!

Medication Management

Pharmacists have vast expertise in medication management. They can deal with medication queries before it needs to reach a GP, this frees up the GPs time to see patients. It can also save the practice money, on locum GP costs for example. Pharmacists can also be prescribers, which means they can take on the responsibility of repeat dispensing. Pharmacists pay acute attention to detail and have the analytical skills to spot any medication issues, thus reducing medication prescribing errors.

So, Pharmacists in general practice play a crucial role in ensuring the safe and effective use of medication. They can review patients’ medications, identify potential drug interactions, provide education to patients, and work with other healthcare professionals to manage chronic conditions. During these processes, patients feel equally involved, their ideas and concerns can be explored, thus building trust and rapport with the patient.

Multidisciplinary Teams

Integration of clinical pharmacists into general practice teams is also crucial. This means ensuring that they can work closely with GPs and other healthcare professionals, such as nurses, to provide patient-centered care that addresses the unique needs of each individual.

This collaborative approach ensures that patients receive a comprehensive and coordinated care plan, tailored to their specific needs. It also facilitates communication between healthcare professionals, enabling timely identification and management of any issues that may arise.

So, what is the future of Clinical Pharmacists in Primary Care?

In conclusion, by prioritising the role of clinical pharmacists in general practice, we can help save time, reduce medication-related errors, and ultimately improve patient outcomes. This is especially important in the current context, where healthcare systems are under increasing pressure to deliver high-quality care in a timely and efficient manner.

Whilst the notion of pharmacists in primary care is arguably still new, we believe their role will evolve over time. They come into primary care with extensive knowledge and can bridge the gap with community pharmacists when a prescription leaves the surgery, allowing GPs to focus more of their time on diagnosing and treating patients with more complex conditions. There may be some apprehension from patients, who wish to only speak to a GP, however, patients should feel assured that when visiting a practice-based pharmacist, they will receive quality care in line with their unique health needs – and if they do need to see a GP, they still can.

An argument may be that the supervision of a pharmacist is required to enable them to work to the standard of the GP practice. So, yes, training will always be needed. Pharmacists are continuously learning and evolving. Therefore, at Clinical Rx®, we have a rigorous training and supervision system between senior and junior pharmacists. This means that little to no of the GP’s time will be spent on training. For more information as to how employing a clinical pharmacist can benefit your GP practice, please contact us at hello@clinicalrx.co.uk

The bottom line is that when care is coordinated by a multidisciplinary team all aspects of patient care and medication management can be streamlined & optimised..

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