RPS, RCGP and BMA highlight expanding role of pharmacists in Primary Care Networks

We have today published joint statements with the BMA and RCGP calling for greater use of community and clinical pharmacists across Primary Care Networks (PCNs).

The statements highlight pharmacists’ expertise in medicines and how they can achieve better outcomes for patients as part of the multidisciplinary team.

Chair of the RPS in England Claire Anderson said:

“There is a huge opportunity for pharmacists to support better outcomes for patients and improve medicines safety across Primary Care Networks. Making the most of this potential will need local GP and pharmacy leaders to work together, so it’s great to see this recognised in these joint statements.

“I look forward to engaging further with the RCGP, BMA, NHS and pharmacy colleagues on the evolving role of pharmacists in PCNs and how they can be best supported to deliver the ambitious vision set out in the NHS Long-Term Plan.”

The statement on community pharmacists encourages all PCN Clinical Directors to consider how they can be partners in supporting the health and wellbeing of the local population, including helping to address current workload pressures within PCN services.

Examples include:

  • Improving transfer of care between hospitals and primary care
  • Urgent and emergency care, such as the new Community Pharmacist Consultation Service
  • Public health and prevention, including earlier identification of high-risk conditions such as cardiovascular disease
  • Supporting self-care and providing advice on healthy eating, stop smoking, sexual health and physical exercise
  • Extending the role of community pharmacists to support local population health approaches alongside PCNs.

It calls for:

  • Community pharmacists to be able to access relevant electronic patient information and the ability to share information on interventions they make
  • Mechanisms and clinical standards to make referrals from community pharmacies to GP practices
  • Local training hubs to work to cultivate a sustainable, flexible, effectively skilled workforce
  • Support for pharmacists within a network to cooperate and work collaboratively.

The statement on clinical pharmacists highlights their role in supporting the integration of primary care with the wider healthcare team, particularly with clinical colleagues in community, mental health and hospital pharmacy:

  • Providing leadership on person-centred medicines optimisation, medicines safety and quality improvement
  • Working closely with other members of the multidisciplinary team in ensuring that patients with chronic diseases get the maximum benefits from their medicines as part of a shared decision-making consultation.
  • Playing a role in the delivery of the local population health and joining up care across the NHS.

It also calls for clinical pharmacists to be able to access and shape the development of CPD and training opportunities as well as work with PCN leadership teams in developing strategy and operational delivery.

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GP committee executive team member, said:

“For Primary Care Networks to thrive, offer the best to patients and address workload pressures, it is crucial that all health professionals are able to form strong partnerships across the local area. 

“Community and clinical pharmacists are valued colleagues, who have an important role to play in networks, and we look forward to working with the RPS, RCGP and NHS to explore how we can support one another in developing these opportunities.” 


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