This is a simple message from us clinical pharmacists to all you GPs out there.
When you are looking to make a change in your practice, when a partner leaves, a nurse retires or you don’t feel that you can afford the current locum or salaried GP rates – come and talk to me.
I am a pharmacist – I have additional clinical qualifications to pharmacy and have spent most of my life working with patients, their conditions and their medicines. I am logical and organised – almost to a fault – and like you am used to working within a very busy team where we all throw our efforts together. OK – I may ‘think’ I know more than you about medicines, but you are streets ahead of me on other areas. I may need lots of help, but it may all be mutually beneficial.
If you would like me to – I can join your practice as an employee and do the following:
- Manage your repeat prescribing system and deal with all the queries (implement electronic prescription management)
- Handle all of the clinic letters and discharge letters
- Review your patients who are on complex medicines
- Help deliver your QoF, LES and DES services
- Ensure that the whole practice knows the systems that are in place and about new medicines and guidelines etc
- Work with the CQC inspectors who are asking about medicines management and ensure your practice passes this aspect of their inspection
To me, this is all quite simple. I know plenty of fairly young pharmacists who are already doing this. However, I could also do the following:
- See some of your patients with common conditions who present at your practice, offering routine and emergency appointments – a bit like a nurse practitioner
- Work with a specified GP and your practice nurse to manage long term condition patients. I have done hypertension, cardiovascular risk, respiratory (asthma and COPD) and diabetes clinics before, a bit of complex pain management, ostomy and wound care (I learnt pressure bandaging at St Georges’ in the day)
- Run your anticoagulant service and other near patient testing services – I even do dopplers and recommend on post DVT management
- I will even roll my sleeves up and do some vaccination clinics
Where I am yet to train as an independent prescriber, you can help me with this, although many of my colleagues are already independent prescribers. I know my limitations, accept my responsibilities and can work effectively with colleagues in a team.
If you would like to talk to a pharmacist already working in a GP practice or to the GPs that have employed them – please let me know – there are some cracking good examples around – one that might win an HSJ award next week!
If, unfortunately I am not able to join you, it is estimated that several thousand of my pharmacist colleagues will be available over the next few years – strictly on a first come first served basis.
On the other hand – you could always work harder or close