RPS England welcomes news of GP pharmacists' success

New evaluation demonstrates impact of practice-based pharmacists

Reacting to the evaluation published today of NHS England's GP pharmacists' programme, RPS England Board Chair Sandra Gidley said:

“This positive independent research from the University of Nottingham continues to demonstrate the value that practice-based pharmacists bring to patients and to the healthcare professionals they work with. In light of this, we hope to see pharmacists remain embedded in GP practices on a large scale after the initial funding has ended.

“It’s clear that with 70% of pharmacists reporting that clinical medication reviews are a major part of the role, the profession’s skills and knowledge are being used appropriately to benefit patients, especially those with long term conditions.

“Having the consultation time to examine if individual patients are on the best treatment regimen, ensure they understand the benefits of their medicines, how to use them and cope with any side-effects improves patient safety and adherence to medicines. It also creates a more active patient engagement with their condition as they experience better health and personal support from the pharmacist, which in turn drives greater self-care and further health improvements.

“It’s heartening to see that over 60% of practice pharmacists are involved in the discharge of patients from hospitals back to home or care homes and are making a real difference by preventing hospital re-admissions.  

“The impact of pharmacists’ prescribing expertise and support also enables GPs to understand their true value in terms of the professional support they offer.  With 75% of pharmacists responding to colleague enquiries every day, it shows that  sharing workloads means a better use of skill mix across the practice so patients get the right care from the right health professional.

“These benefits can of course also be achieved in community and hospital settings, and we support better use of pharmacists’ skills to benefit patient care wherever they work.

“ The research clearly demonstrates overall how patient outcomes can be improved by thinking differently about how pharmacists integrate into the health care system. The new Secretary of State has already shown that he is thinking differently and we are keen to work with him around how pharmacists in all settings can support patient care.”