The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) have produced a joint statement detailing how GPs and community pharmacists can work together to improve the care provided to patients in the community.
Breaking down the barriers – how community pharmacists and GPs can work together to improve patient care makes recommendations for the benefits to patients of improved liaison between community pharmacists and general practitioners.
The paper identifies the changing role of the community pharmacist, from dispenser to generic health provider, and the broadening role of the GP, and details how these changes can be harnessed and used for patient benefit.
The paper makes 62 recommendations, and identifies key ‘building blocks’ designed to underpin new closer working which include:
• Acknowledging the opportunity for joint working to improve medicines utilisation, cost-effectiveness and minimise waste.
• Shared standards and ways of working to ensure consistency of services and information to the public
• Better transfer and sharing of patient information facilitated by improved inter professional IT links
• Joint education and training at undergraduate and postgraduate level
The paper also explores the way pharmacists and GPs can better work together to improve specific clinical areas such as the management of long term and chronic conditions, and end of life care.
RCGP Chair Dr Clare Gerada said:
“In these financially and structurally challenging times, integration across professional boundaries is so important to improving the quality of care we provide to our patients. The recommendations contained within this new statement paper detail clearly the way forward for GPs and pharmacists to get the very most out of their mutual professional relationships, and translate this into improved, consistent care for the patients in their communities.
“This is a really positive move towards truly joined up care for the health service of the future, and I hope to see many GPs and pharmacists taking these recommendations into account.”
RPS President Martin Astbury said:
“GPs and pharmacists both have a vital role to play in raising the quality of care for patients. This joint work between the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Royal College of General Practitioners shows clear direction and willingness from both parties to work more closely together to deliver excellent service to patients. Recognising the skills and experience of the full range of healthcare professionals is the key focus of Breaking down the barriers.
This statement represents our joint recognition of many good examples where GPs and pharmacists are working in close collaboration and our commitment to extend this further, so that patients can reap the benefits of this partnership, wherever they live in the country.”
Pharmacy Minister Earl Howe said:
"I applaud the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society for taking the lead on such a crucial issue.
Stronger integration is at the heart of the Government's plans to modernise the NHS. If there's one big frustration many patients have, it's that the NHS can seem a bit disjointed. That is why these recommendations are so important. They will help break down the barriers that can often exist between GPs and community pharmacists to get the best care for patients."
View the joint statement between the RCGP and RPS »
RCGP Press office – 020 3188 7574/7575/7576
Out of hours: 07885 958 632
RPS Press Office – 0207 5722476
Out of hours: 07860 643862
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of over 42,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is the dedicated professional body for pharmacists and pharmacy in England, Scotland and Wales providing leadership, support and development to its members. The Society ensures the voice of the profession is heard and actively promoted in the development and delivery of healthcare policy and works to raise the profile of the profession.It is the only body which represents all sectors of pharmacy in Great Britain.