GPS and Pharmacists working in partnership? Guest blog by Stephen Riley @pharmaste


The recent GMC study has shown that 5% of prescriptions contain prescribing errors and the DoH backed PINCER study found that Pharmacist-led interventions can substantially reduce common medication errors and are cost-effective. These studies support my own experiences in working with CCGs and GP Practices. I work as an independent provider of medicines management and optimisation services to CCGs and GP practices. One of my key roles is as Lead Pharmacist providing the complete medicines management service to a CCG in the North West who decided to contract out of the PCT in 2010 and commission their own service.

It has provided a great way to build a rapport with GP Practices and staff at all levels (Clinicians, Practice Nurses, Management and reception staff) and has also allowed us to develop partnership working with the GPs. As we are commissioned by the CCG directly we are not bound solely by the PCT agenda and purely cost cutting. Cost-effective prescribing is a factor, but we have also worked with practices to optimise therapies, reduce wasteful prescribing, increase prescribing of licensed therapies, reduce prescribing of unnecessary unlicensed specials, conduct safety audits and conduct face to face medication reviews.

I sit on the executive committee for the PDA union and worked on their Road Map project for Pharmacy. The essence is develop enhance clinical roles for Pharmacists, such as running clinics managing long term conditions (e.g. respiratory, hypertension, etc) or near patient testing (e.g. anticoagulation). These could be delivered via the Community Pharmacy network, by Community Pharmacists. A practice based Pharmacist role could be ideal for Primary Care Pharmacists to move into and work in a complimentary fashion to the essential role of Community Pharmacists.

I am standing for for the EPB in this year’s RPS elections and have joined with some other like minded candidates to work to provide a Bright Future for Pharmacy. Partnership working with GPs and other health professionals is essential If Pharmacy is to have a significant role, high profile impact in the new NHS structure and be effective and properly rewarded as part of the healthcare team. I would urge all RPS members to vote before noon on 01/06/12 and anyone to have a look at our face book group https://www.facebook.com/groups/353602354689304/, we plan to use it as a forum post elections. Together we can work towards a Bright Future for our profession.

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One thought on “GPS and Pharmacists working in partnership? Guest blog by Stephen Riley @pharmaste

  1. I am totally convinced that there is a big future for pharmacists deployed in GP surgeries, and I have seen this at first hand, very rewarding and my GP Practice wouldnt have it any other way, theyve always wanted their own clinical pharmacist and now they have one! They pay my salary and I increase capacity by managing repeat presctiption requests and med reviews. This type of role is no longer a sole domain for PCT or even CCG pharmacists. An increasing munber of practices are realising the benfits of commissioning their own pharmacist resource. There is no reason this could not extend to commissioning from Community pharmacy e.g. through an LPC led business model such as an LLP. Mr Riley gets my vote for his professional aspiration of ensuring that we make best use of pharmacists within primary healthcare teams, as we see work so well in hospital clinical services.

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