A career in primary care

Keiran Watts - Pharmacy student

“I had always taken a keen interest in chemistry at A-level and wanted to further my understanding of the subject.'

 Working part-time in a community pharmacy allowed me to view at first hand how rewarding pharmacy is, as it means we can help people from all walks of life using the chemical and drug expertise we have gained on the degree programme."

Keiran Watts, Pharmacy student

Primary care pharmacists, largely employed by Primary Care Organisations, play a significant part in managing medicines. They have a strategic role, to focus on maximising benefit and minimising risk of medicines, as well as making the best use of resources allocated for medicines.

In some places practice pharmacists or primary care pharmacists also run medication review clinics and have lots of patient contact, as well as close working relationships with GPs, practice nurses and other healthcare professionals.

In recent years there has been a big shift in focus within the NHS towards primary care — preventing people from becoming ill and encouraging healthier lifestyles so as to keep them out of hospital. Prevention is better than cure and pharmacists are ideally placed to play their part.

In England, primary care pharmacists can also play a significant part in Practice Based Commissioning (PBC) in the prescribing and medicines management agenda.

PBC is a tool to improve the quality of services and access for patients. PBC supports the move of funding to frontline staff to enable the delivery of innovative system reforms, patient choice, plurality and investment. It supports the intent that commissioning should take place as close to the patient as possible to ensure cost-effective use of resources.

For more information on primary care pharmacy, visit the Primary Care Pharmacists' Association (PCPA), which was established for the benefit of all pharmacists with an active interest in primary care pharmacy.