In 2019, NHS England‘s (NHSE) new Directed Enhanced Service (DES) was introduced across all Primary Care Networks (PCNs). QHS has successfully transferred its existing clinical Pharmacists to the new service that has been set up to strengthen the General Practice team. This will help improve patient access and promote greater multi-disciplinary team working to meet the needs of the local population.
QHS currently has ten PCN clinical Pharmacists who are working across the 14 GP practices in north Southwark. These roles have been established in partnership with NHSE‘s education and training partners, who provide the relevant training to equip the Pharmacists with the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to develop as primary care clinicians.
These roles build on the success of previous pilots undertaken nationally, demonstrating the benefits of Pharmacists working in patient-facing roles in primary care as part of multi-disciplinary teams.
Purpose of the service
Clinical Pharmacists are highly trained experts in medicines and as part of the NHS Long Term Plan mandate, are helping to increase access to GP practice services and support patients with their medicines use for both short-term conditions and more importantly long-term conditions such as high blood pressure and asthma.
With the skills they have; pharmacists help to optimise patient care and help individual patients get the best outcomes from their medicines use. This is through the provision of expert patient-tailored advice and support, promotion of quality, safe and sustainable prescribing.
The clinical Pharmacists are also training to become prescribers, some of whom are already qualified.
The clinical Pharmacists are also helping to improve links with community pharmacies and hospital teams, aiming to promote better collaboration and connectivity to ensure more seamless care between the hospital and community.
What have we done so far?
- Pharmacists played a big part in providing leadership and support in the delivery of the Covid vaccination programme, including overseeing the vaccine preparation process and directly vaccinating patients.
- Pharmacists are now working within each Neighbourhood as part of an integrated multi-disciplinary team to deliver holistic care to patients.
- Clinical Pharmacists deliver high level structured medication reviews to patients with multiple long-term conditions.
- The team focus their work on optimising patient care through supporting patients to get the best use out of their medicines, whilst also providing healthy lifestyle advice to help prevent illness and worsening of conditions.
- The team also signposts patients to other services for support.
- The team continue to implement national policy and recommendations for optimal management of patients with long-term conditions.
- The team are involved in collating relevant data to help better manage patients health and optimise care
- The team have supported GP practices with prescribing policy guidance and CQC inspections.
- Clinical Pharmacists are working within our QHS Care Home Service.
What difference has this made?
- Positive feedback from patients
- Positive feedback from GP practice staff
- Achievement of national and local targets set for delivery of care
- Increasing demand for more pharmacist skills in primary care
What are our plans for the future?
- QHS are exploring opportunities to increase the number of PCN Pharmacists to meet demand.
- Greater collaboration across the system to help develop a flexible and highly skilled pharmacy workforce that can work across the various care-settings i.e. hospital, primary care.
- QHS are looking to recruit pharmacy technicians to support the wider Pharmacy team.
- All Pharmacists are offered training to qualify as independent prescribers
- Pharmacists are being upskilled to deliver more specialist services within practices.
- Pharmacists are building a series of high quality QHS prescribing policies to support member practices.
- Further development of the roles to support recruitment and retention.
- To find your local pharmacy, please visit NHS: Find a pharmacy.