Thanks to increased funding from the NHS, over 7 million patients will soon have access to a clinical pharmacist when visiting their GP. This 3-year initiative is due to start in the spring of 2016 with a £15m fund being spread over 3 years and offered to surgeries under the greatest pressure. 698 GP practices will benefit from the scheme, with 403 clinical pharmacists taking part. The money is planned to support 60% of the cost for pharmacists pay for the first 12 months, 40% for the second 12 months and 20% for the third 12 months.
It is hoped that the scheme benefits GPs themselves by reducing their workload and offering support, whilst aiming to reduce medication errors within surgeries. It has been reported that 30-50% of prescribed medication for conditions such as depression, diabetes and high blood pressure are not taken as recommended. The initiative aims to reduce enormous medicine bills incurred by medication wastage by helping patients to take their medicines correctly. Patients will also receive extra help to manage long-term conditions and have access to more advice on treatments.
Across the initiative the overarching theme is time. With the help of pharmacists, GPs will have more time to focus on patients whilst the pharmacists themselves can give patients their time to help with any queries or questions they may have regarding their conditions/treatments.
Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive said: “By testing these new ways of working across professional boundaries we are taking another step forward to relieving some of the pressure that GPs are clearly under and ensuring patients see the health professional that best suits their needs.”