NHS England Chief Executive, Simon Stevens, has launched a new £15m scheme that will patients ultimately benefit through the funding, recruitment and employment of clinical pharmacists in GP surgeries.
Launching this year, the three year initiative will give patients an additional resource in the form of an expert pharmacist in their GP surgery. This will help patients manage long-term conditions, give them specific advice for those with multiple medications and better access to health checks.
Focusing on areas where GPs are under the greatest pressure, the pharmacist will be directly employed by the practice and ease GPs’ workload. The announcement is an important part of the New Deal for General Practice outlined by the NHS Five Year Forward View, and is the result of close collaborative work with Royal College of General Practitioners, the BMA’s General Practice Committee, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Health Education England.
Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, said: “This has the potential to be a win-win-win for patients, their GPs and for pharmacists. Tapping into the skills of clinical pharmacists should help expand care and relieve some of the pressure that GPs are clearly under. This isn’t a silver bullet but it is a practical and constructive contribution to the wider challenge.”
Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: “They will not be substitutes for GPs, but will work closely with us as part of the practice team to resolve day to day medicine issues, particularly for patients with long term conditions who are taking a number of different medications. This has the potential to have a major impact on patient care and safety, as well as reducing waiting times for GP appointments.”
Dr David Branford, former Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Board, added: “It’s a win-win situation for everyone concerned. I am delighted that NHS England are investing in this pilot which will make best use of the NHS workforce. Working with the Royal College of General Practitioners we will be doing everything we can to support the profession and make sure this pilot is successful. In time I hope pharmacists will be working in every GP practice in the country.”