Primary Care Pharmacy

Primary care pharmacists play a significant part in managing medicines. They have a strategic role to focus on maximising benefit and minimising risk associated with medicines as well as making the best use of resources allocated for medicines. 

In recent years there has been a big shift in focus within the NHS towards primary care – preventing people from becoming ill and encouraging healthier lifestyles as to keep them out of hospital. 

Primary care pharmacists work in the local community supporting GPs, nurses, community pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. The level of patient contact varies depending on your role. You will play a significant role in the management of medicines use, and will be involved in developing services for the local population, implementing national health priorities at a local level, arranging funding and access to health services (commissioning), and designing treatment pathways. You will also be involved in conducting audits and research.

Case study

Stephen Riley

Primary Care Pharmacist, North West Commissioning Support Unit

I am a Senior Prescribing Advisor with North West Commissioning Support Unit (NWCSU). I am the lead pharmacist and accountable for the delivery of the medicines management service provided to Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The CCG is made up of 56 GP practices and commissions medical services for a patient population of around 330,000. 

I lead the well-established and respected locality medicines management team of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, line managing the Prescribing Advisors and Senior Pharmacy Technician. We work and support the medicines optimisation agenda, improve use of cost effective medicines and ensure high quality prescribing. 

I provide strategic support to the CCG in developing / commissioning services involving medicines and prescribing. On behalf of the CCG, I facilitate the health economy process for medicines decision-making and sit on the joint Drug and Therapeutics Committee with the local hospital trust. I lead effective partnership working arrangements with secondary care; tertiary trusts and independent providers in order to engage wider collaboration in optimal medicines use and resource utilisation. An important element of my role is to forge key relationships with CCG Board members, Clinical Leads and senior managers; CSU managers; GPs, their staff and community pharmacy leads.