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  • General practice pharmacist scheme evaluation indicates ‘improved capacity’ as the main benefit

    General practice pharmacist scheme evaluation indicates ‘improved capacity’ as the main benefit

    Tuesday, 31 July 2018 15:31
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Umesh Modi is a chartered accountant, and Pamini Jatheeskumar is a chartered certified accountant at Silver Levene...
  Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead...
Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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a dr and pharmacist meeting imageJuly 31 2018

General practices employing pharmacists are citing improved capacity to see patients and workload changes as the main benefits of the scheme.

A study on the impact of having pharmacist in general practice has also noted improved medicines optimisation and safety. 

Researchers based at the University of Nottingham have issued a report looking at the pilot phase of the scheme announced under the General Practice Five Year Forward View. This outlined an investment of £31 million to pilot 470 clinical pharmacists in over 700 practices and has been supplemented by further central investment of a further £112 million.

Among the findings were that: 

  • a pharmacist’s time is usually spent conducting medication reviews, servicing prescription requests and queries and managing discharge;
  • the practice’s workload management between acute and long-term care changes, with the majority of long-term care provided by nurses and pharmacists, allowing GPs to manage acute care;
  • pharmacists were improving practice implementation of NICE guidance around medicines;
  • pharmacists undertaking the role enjoyed high levels of satisfaction;
  • patient interviews showed that they appreciated these longer appointments that offered the opportunity for an in-depth high quality review;
  • there was a reduction in opioid use, prescribing errors and patient readmission post discharge.

The researchers have recommended that further evaluation work should evaluate the sustainability of the post beyond the initial three year funded period as a measure of scheme success. Cost effectiveness analysis on practice pharmacist return on investment “could usefully support role sustainability.”

They caution: “There remains some mismatch between GPs’ expectations of ROI and both the depth of cost and length of time for returns to be realised.”

Commenting on the study, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s England Board Chair, Sandra Gidley, said she hoped to see pharmacists remain embedded in GP practices on a large scale after the initial funding has ended.

“It’s clear that with 70% of pharmacists reporting that clinical medication reviews are a major part of the role, the profession’s skills and knowledge are being used appropriately to benefit patients, especially those with long term conditions.

It was “heartening” that over 60% of practice pharmacists are involved in the discharge of patients from hospitals back to home or care homes, which is making “a real difference by preventing hospital re-admissions,” she added.  

“The research clearly demonstrates overall how patient outcomes can be improved by thinking differently about how pharmacists integrate into the health care system. The new Secretary of State has already shown that he is thinking differently and we are keen to work with him around how pharmacists in all settings can support patient care.” 

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said: “PSNC is pleased but not surprised to see that pharmacists have had a positive impact on GP capacity and workload. Patients value spending time with pharmacists and there is much evidence that this interaction can improve people’s understanding and use of medicines.

“All pharmacists have the knowledge to offer extensive medicines support and advice to patients. We would like to see community pharmacists fully empowered to use their clinical skills in this way, working closely with pharmacists in all other settings. 

“Community pharmacies remain for many people the gateway to NHS services and they can do much to improve patient safety and outcomes; PSNC’s aim is for this potential to be maximised so that all pharmacies have the opportunity to support the work being done by GPs and others in the best way possible.”

Links:
University of Nottingham announcement          
RPS comment   
PSNC comment             

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