Over 450,000 patients in Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire will soon be able to benefit from expert advice from a clinical pharmacist when they visit their GP surgery.
It is thanks to the expansion of a national scheme to support a growing number of clinical pharmacists to help with patients’ routine medication and treatment.
NHS England has announced that more patients in Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire will benefit from having pharmacists working in their local GP surgeries, as part of a further roll out of the national Clinical Pharmacy scheme.
This is in addition to existing schemes launched in April 2017 in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, where approximately 118,500 patients (75,500 and 43,000 patients in each county respectively) registered with thirteen practices (9 and 4 respectively), have pharmacists at their GP surgery.
This follows an initial pilot of the national scheme in 2015 which saw six practices in Gloucestershire, one scheme in Swindon across four practices and two pilot schemes in Wiltshire across seven practices taking part, benefitting around 150,000 patients.
Clinical pharmacists work as part of the general practice team by providing expertise on day-to-day medicine issues and consultations with patients directly.
This includes providing extra help to manage patients’ long-term conditions, such as helping to manage a patient’s high blood pressure earlier and more effectively to prevent cardiovascular disease; advice for patients on taking multiple medications; and offering better access to health checks.
This all delivers quicker access to clinical advice for patients and allows GPs to spend time with patients who have more complex needs.
Welcoming the plans to increase the number of clinical pharmacists supporting patient care in Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire GP practices, Debra Elliott, Director of Commissioning, NHS England South Central, said: “Having a clinical pharmacist in GP practices means GPs can focus their skills where they are most needed, for example on diagnosing and treating patients with complex conditions.
“This helps GPs manage the demands on their time and ensures patients see the health professional that best suits their needs.”
“Having qualified clinical pharmacists working as part of the practice teams within these surgeries is helping to improve the level of service they can provide to their patients and to make the best possible use of the clinical skills of practice staff.”