Improving the Pharmacotherapy Service

The introduction of a national Pharmacotherapy Service in the 2018 General Medical Services contract in Scotland resulted in a transformation in primary care. This was a very positive development for patients, GP practices and pharmacists.

By November 2020, all but seven GP practices in Scotland were receiving some level of pharmacy support. The foundations for a high quality, effective GP Practice Pharmacy Service have been laid.

However, the focus to date on delivering the “level 1” aspects of the service has undermined the professional role and clinical skills of pharmacists.

This was backed up by data from two surveys in autumn 2020:

  • An RPS survey of workforce wellbeing showed high burnout risk, with 49% of GP practice pharmacists saying they had considered leaving the profession. Link:
  • A separate survey conducted by Scottish Practice Pharmacist and Prescribing Advisers’ Association found that less than 25% of pharmacists’ time in GP practices was spent on clinical, patient-facing roles. This was previously seen as an expected focus of the job which had attracted pharmacists.

We believe this situation needs to be addressed urgently to deliver a sustainable Pharmacotherapy Service which delivers high quality care for patients and safe use of medicines.

RPS Scotland is currently gathering views on how to learn from successes to date and to understand what improvements could be made to deliver a sustainable, high quality Pharmacotherapy Service in future.

To feed in your views, please contact: [email protected]