At a recent visit to the Penrhyn Bay Medical Centre in Llandudno, Janet Finch-Saunders, Conservative AM for Aberconwy, met with Fiona Jones, member of the Welsh Pharmacy Board and Clinical Pharmacist at the practice, to find out how patients in her constituency are benefiting from the expertise of a pharmacist working at the GP practice.
Ms Finch-Saunders heard how demands on GPs are being eased by the patient facing services offered by the on-site clinical pharmacist at the practice. Fiona, who works as part of the Medicines Management Team at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, highlighted how patients with chronic conditions can see a pharmacist when they visit the surgery to benefit from medication reviews and expert advice on using their medicines. It was explained that by working closely with GPs in the practice, having access to patient information and making prescribing decisions, the pharmacist is able to build good relationships with patients and confidently manage their medication regimen. Not only has this shifted capacity in the practice and eased pressures on GPs, but it has enabled patients to benefit from comprehensive pharmaceutical care to help them get the best from their medicines.
Fiona also highlighted that she is able to take these services to the homes of patients who have difficulties getting to the GP surgery. With a high percentage of elderly and frail patients at the surgery, this is very helpful and the pharmacist is able see housebound patients and work with the wider healthcare team in the community to address patient’s needs.
Commenting on the services, Fiona said “The model of care provided at Penhryn Bay Medical Centre ensures that patients receive the advice and support they need from the right health professional at the right time. It is professionally rewarding to work closely with patients, GPs and the wider healthcare team to ensure patients can get the best from their medicines”.
Fiona also outlined to Ms Finch-Saunders the RPS policy vision for pharmacy, which calls for patients to benefit from pharmacy access to individual patient records, pharmacy-led chronic conditions management, and the integration of pharmacists into multidisciplinary teams. She said “Our service in Penrhyn Bay demonstrates to other NHS services that with the right blend of skills and expert knowledge, together with access to patient records for the full range of health professionals, patients can benefit from high quality healthcare that is safe, effective and convenient”.
Following the visit, Ms Finch-Saunders said “The visit was a real eye opener. Having worked on the Assembly’s Health and Social Services Committee inquiry into pharmacy services previously, I continue to be impressed by the range of services our pharmacists here in Wales can offer. It is essential that we fully recognise the skills pharmacists can bring to the table, and ensure that patients take advantage of the wealth of knowledge and support they can provide”.
Commenting on the model of care provided at Penrhyn Bay Medical Practice, Ms Finch Saunders said “The work of pharmacists remains as valuable as ever, if not more so, in the ever evolving and changing landscape of our health service, and they remain vital to so many across Wales and certainly within Aberconwy.