I am pleased to announce that pharmacists have been officially removed from the endangered species (shortage occupation) list. After several years of difficulty there appears to be plenty of us about. What good news. The employers are pleased because they have choice in the market place which will undoubtedly push up quality and push down price.
This is good news for general practice which currently offers 57,000,000 appointments every year to patients who could be satisfactorily managed by a pharmacist at approximately at less than half the cost of a salaried/locum GP. It is also enables practices to target the medicines section of the CQC registration and seek to reduce the 1,700,000 serious prescribing errors each year. Skill mix is important in managing polypharmacy and patients with long term conditions. The Pharmaceutical Care Awards 2013 was given to a group of independent prescribing pharmacists who managed to bring under control 58% of patients who failed to meet target with consultations with the GP and practice nurse. The CCG might even support you financially if you link it to medicines optimisation and reducing waste.
It is good news for out of hours service providers where about a third of all appointments are offered to people who could have been managed by a pharmacist.
And it is great news for NHS England and public health in Local Authorities which might want to expand community pharmacy provision of services. There is plenty more to do around immunisation, stop smoking and ‘Pharmacy First’. And we have hardly scratched the surface of other public health related services.
And all at a time when GPs and practice nurses are in short supply.
So you had better go out and bag yourself a pharmacist before they are all gone!
What do I mean by that – well NHS Employers are currently consulting on the issue. Rather than seeing this as an opportunity for everyone in the NHS – they may well recommend reducing University places. If this happens the supply will dry up in a couple of years and you will have lost your chance.