NHS England doubles funding for clinical pharmacists in GP pilotNovember 16, 2015
The National Health Service (NHS) in England has more than doubled funding from £15m to £31m for its clinical pharmacists in general practice pilot, due to an overwhelmingly positive response from GP surgeries.
NHS England, Health Education England, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the BMA have announced that 73 applications will receive a share of the funding, which will cover 698 GP practices and include 403 clinical pharmacists.
As a result, more than seven million patients will have access to expert advice from a clinical pharmacist when they visit their GP.
Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive said: “Joint working between pharmacists and GPs has the potential to have major benefits for both patients and clinical professionals. This pilot will be a win-win for GPs, pharmacists and patients.”
Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive, Health Education England said: “Pharmacists are key to effective multi-disciplinary teams in GP practices and to the delivery of high quality patient care in a modern primary care environment.”
Sandra Gidley Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Board said: “This extra investment of £16m … is a real vote of confidence in the pharmacy profession and a huge step towards the integration of pharmacists into primary care.”
“More patients will see at first-hand the difference a practice pharmacist can make to their health and more GPs will come to regard them as an essential part of the multidisciplinary team in their practice.”
Severe shortage of GPs across the UK
Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “We have a severe shortage of GPs across the UK, and having highly trained pharmacists working with us to take on tasks such as medication management, will help alleviate the intense pressures we are under, and improve patient safety.”
Talking about the feedback received from the members who already have a practice based pharmacist, Dr Baker said that that they play an invaluable role.
“We are pleased that NHS England has taken the idea so seriously and so swiftly brought it to fruition,” Dr Baker said.
Dr Baker added: “There is a long way to go to solve the workforce crisis in general practice and creating new roles, such as practice-based pharmacists, is just one of the steps in our 10 point plan to build the general practice workforce”
Pharmacists could relieve some of the pressure
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GP committee chair, commented: “General practice is under extreme pressure after a decade of escalating patient demand and falling resources, with patients understandably frustrated that they are facing longer waiting times for appointments.”
“The pilot scheme is a positive and important opportunity to develop the role of pharmacists working in practices to relieve some of the unsustainable pressures faced by GPs up and down the country.”
“We need to ensure that the benefits from these pilots can be extended to all practices nationally, so that GPs can be supported to have the time to see the increasing numbers of patients with complex and long-term conditions, and in order to provide quality and accessible care.”