Responding to the announcement Sandra Gidley, RPS England Board Chair said:
“When we set out our shared vision with RCGP in 2013, that every GP practice team should have access to the expertise of a pharmacist, we were delighted with the response from the profession, GPs, patient groups and NHS England. Today’s announcement of a £112m investment is an important and significant step in achieving that aim.
“The NHS England backed pilot means there will be at least 2,000 positions for pharmacists in GP surgeries, with take up of this new role by GP practices gathering pace. I hope for pharmacy students and pre-registration trainees, who may have concerns about their professional future, today’s announcement demonstrates the confidence the NHS has in pharmacists.
“I would urge community and hospital pharmacists to embrace the opportunity of closer working with GP pharmacists to ensure more joined up patient care. We would like to see both investment and development of community pharmacy as well as continued support for GP pharmacists. This isn’t a case of either investment in community pharmacy, or GP practices, we want to see more resources and development of community pharmacy as well as general practice, making sure the whole of primary care is able to meet the demands of patient care now and in future. I would encourage pharmacists based in hospitals to think about the opportunities for outreach work in primary care, where their considerable skills can be used to prevent emergency admissions.
“We are delighted that GP based pharmacists will be focused on joining up care across traditional boundaries between community pharmacy, hospital and other care settings. As Richard Murray recommended in his recent review of community pharmacy services, the barriers to collaborative working are impeding integration. We will be working harder than ever with RCGP and others to do as much as we can to facilitate joint professional working on the ground.”
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the RCGP, said: “We’re delighted that this scheme - which started as a joint initiative between us and colleagues at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society less than two years ago – is being rolled out more widely and will benefit even more GP practices and patients.
"GPs are under intense workload pressures currently, and practice-based pharmacists are playing an increasingly vital role within some GP-led multi-disciplinary teams, carrying out tasks, such as medication reviews and managing repeat prescriptions. This helps cut waiting times for patients by freeing up GPs’ time for patients who really need our clinical expertise.
“As one of the pledges in the GP Forward View, it’s encouraging to see that NHS England are starting to deliver. We need to ensure that the other pledges are delivered swiftly and effectively in the best interests of general practice and our patients.”