Four clinical pharmacists are now working across GP practices in Wolverhampton to give patients face-to-face advice on their medicines and free up GP appointments and time.
Following a successful pilot of the pharmacist role in primary care, NHS England is providing three-years of funding to double the number of pharmacists working across Wolverhampton from.
Local GP consortium, Intrahealth, was successful in its bid for funding this project and is employing and managing the pharmacists on behalf of a number of Wolverhampton practices.
Introducing pharmacists into general practice is proving beneficial to patients and GPs alike. Feedback from practices involved in pilots suggests that by employing clinical pharmacists many practices have been able to reduce waiting times for appointments, increase access to healthcare, improve screenings and diagnosis of chronic and common ailments, reduce A&E admissions and attendances and reduce medicines wastage and overuse.
Dr Kam Ahmed is the Local Medical Director at IntraHealth Ltd, who manages three practice across the city – Pennfields medical centre, Bilston Urban Village medical centre and IH medical practice. IntraHealth Ltd is running this project across 13 GP practices in Wolverhampton.
Dr Ahmed said: “Medication and how it’s taken plays a hugely important part in people’s care and how they manage their health and wellbeing. As experts in their field, clinical pharmacistscan focus on medication reviews, seeing and treating common conditions and managing prescribing for long-term conditions; meaning GP time is freed up to focus their skills where they are most needed – on diagnosing and treating patients with complex conditions.
“Clinical pharmacists can hold minor ailment clinics, be responsible for all prescription-related queries and clinical medicines reviews can be handed over from GPs to the pharmacist, helping reduce GP workload whilst improving access and care.
“We are delighted to be able to roll this model out across practices in Wolverhampton and are aiming to further develop the role clinical pharmacists have in primary care with a view to expanding the model further. Not only are the benefits apparent for GPs and patients, national evidence shows this model increases GP recruitment and retention, which is key for Wolverhampton moving forward.”