Shaping pharmacy for the future
Pharmacists and GP surgeries
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society believes that primary care patients should have the benefit of a pharmacist’s clinical expertise similar to that currently experienced by patients in hospital.
There are many good examples of innovative practice in primary care that integrate the skills of pharmacists as part of coordinated care to improve patient outcomes and safety whilst also reducing prescribing and downstream care costs. We believe there is a compelling case for it to become normal practice to have pharmacists working much more closely with GPs across England. With current and future shortfall in GP and nurse numbers, pharmacists are ideally placed to support their fellow professionals and improve the quality of care for patients.
We've been working together with the Royal College of General Practioners to break down the perceived barriers to joint working between general practice and pharmacy. Read our joint statement , or watch our video of Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of RCGP, discussing how can pharmacists and GPs work more closely together to find out more.
- General Practitioners to embrace the potential that pharmacists can bring to the care of their patients
- Local Commissioners to include pharmacist expertise in all care path ways that use medicines including the formal involvement of community pharmacists in local care pathways
- NHS England to support the spread of good practice and the dissemination of evidence which shows the benefits of pharmacist input in GP surgeries.
Clinical Pharmacists in GP Practices Pilot
The RPS welcome the support from NHS England in evolving the role of the practice pharmacist and the establishment of the clinical pharmacist in general practice pilot. This £31m scheme to fund, recruit and employ clinical pharmacists in GP surgeries will give patients the additional support of an expert pharmacist in their GP surgery.
Examples of the benefits patients can expect include extra help to manage long-term conditions, specific advice for those with multiple medications and better access to health checks. It is the first in a number of pilots testing innovative workforce models designed to support general practice as part of the GP workforce 10 point plan.
Better care alongside GPs
What are other healthcare organisations saying about the campaign?
In response to a question about professional autonomy for pharmacists within the practice team, Professor Nigel Mathers, Royal College of General Practioners (RCGP) Honorary Secretary said:
“This joint initiative between the RCGP and Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) isn’t about pharmacists being employed by GPs - it is about pharmacists being employed by practices, much in the same way that practice nurses and salaried GPs are.
"Pharmacists working within a primary health care team will have autonomous clinical responsibility for patients, access to their own membership body and their own indemnity arrangements.
"It is a joint endeavour between our two professions to utilise our distinct skills in the best interests of our patients, and the wider practice team.”
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, British Medical Association (BMA) GP committee chairman, said: "Placing more pharmacists into GP practice teams is a move the BMA has been advocating for some time."
Jenny Aston, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Chair, RCGP General Practice Foundation Nursing Group:
“When the concept of General Practice Nurses was introduced, there was uncertainty amongst GPs, nurses and patients about how our role would be implemented, and the tasks we would be performing – now, it’s hard to imagine a GP surgery without GP nurses. Many surgeries are expanding their teams by employing Healthcare Assistants.
We are skilled healthcare professionals and we have become highly trusted members of the practice team. We are performing more and more activities in general practice, including managing the care of our patients with long term conditions. An increasing number of Advanced Nurse Practitioners are also seeing acute presentations and prescribing or referring patients.
Pharmacists will be a welcome addition to the practice team and I look forward to working together and using our distinct but complementary skills to effectively deliver high quality and safe care to our patients.”
Read the briefing
Read our policy briefing outling how we think pharmacists and GPs could work more closely »
- Pharmacists and general practice: A practical and timely part of solving the primary care workload and workforce crisis
A report from the NHS Alliance and Royal Pharmaceutical Society
- The role of pharmacy in delivering person-centred care
A report following a joint event by the RPS and National Voices
- The Ultimate Guide for Pharmacists Working in GP Practices
- The Impact of Adding a Pratice Pharmacist to the Team in a GP surgery- Haxby Group Practice
- Case studies
- Sample of a practice based pharmacist job description
- 5 myths about pharmacists working in GP surgeries
- The benefits of working with an in-practice pharmacist (GPonline article)
- Resources from Pharmaceutical Press
- A guide for GPs considering employing a practice pharmacist