3 December 2014

NHS Alliance and RPS Report Suggests Pharmacists Hold Solution to Workforce Crisis in General Practice

The NHS Alliance and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society have produced a new report, Pharmacists and general practice: A practical and timely part of solving the primary care workload and workforce crisis, on pharmacists and the role that they could play in general practice.

The report contains excerpts from a round table held with GPs, practice pharmacists and members of the public on 30 September this year, and explores the current role of pharmacists working within general practice, why this isn’t more widespread, what the barriers might be, and how they might be overcome.

Pharmacists are currently seen by many as an under-used resource in the healthcare system, and when asked why they thought clinical pharmacy had not become more established in primary care, attendees stipulated that “most GPs have no idea pharmacists can work in GP practices”. One attendee observed this lack of understanding may be because pharmacists and GPs don’t train together.

Patients also appreciated the pharmacists presence within general practices, stating that they have a “more approachable, patient-focused communications style”, and expressed an appreciation for their longer and more frequently available appointments.

Mark Robinson, medicines, pharmacy and medicines optimisation lead at NHS Alliance, said:

“Primary care is facing an immediate crisis with up to 500 GP practices at risk of closure due to an ageing workforce, as well as recruitment and retention issues. The roundtable clearly showed that pharmacists can help offer a practical and timely solution, filling the workforce gap and reducing pressures on general practice. And, in the cases where pharmacists have already been integrated into general practice, they have helped to drive significant improvements in care provision and working patterns.”

David Branford RPS English Board Chair: “I hugely welcome this support from NHS Alliance to encourage greater clinical involvement of pharmacists with GPs. The skill set of pharmacists and their focus on medicines is very complimentary to those of GPs. The RPS has advocated closer working, and pharmacists becoming an integral part of the GP team, for many years, and the model advocated by NHS Alliance of the pharmacist being a part of and working in the GP practice is one of a range of models that enable that.”


Click here to watch the video, Revealed: how GPs and pharmacists are breaking down old boundaries.

NHS Alliance

NHS Alliance is the leading independent voice for primary care, bringing together patients, frontline staff, providers and commissioners bound the common values of the NHS. Its core purpose is to work collaboratively to improve health care within a sustainable NHS, facilitating new and better ways of delivering services through its networks and campaigns. It welcomes patient-focused organisations and individuals of all disciplines, representing them to government and its agencies to influence policy in the interests of all its members.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is the professional membership body for pharmacists and pharmacy in Great Britain.

For further information please contact Becky Riffel, rebecca.riffel@salixandco.com / 07725 555030