Pharmacists Working in General Practice

Clinical Pharmacists in General Practice

The NHS England General Practice Forward View committed to over £100m of investment to support an extra 1,500 clinical pharmacists to work in general practice by 2020/21. This is in addition to over 490 clinical pharmacists already working across approximately 650 GP practices as part of a pilot, launched in July 2015.

Clinical pharmacists work as part of the general practice team to resolve day-to-day medicine issues and consult with and treat patients directly. This includes providing extra help to manage long-term conditions, advice for those on multiple medications and better access to health checks. The role is pivotal to improving the quality of care and ensuring patient safety. Full details on the initiative can be found on the NHS England website here.

Scoping Educational Requirements for Practice Pharmacists

Alongside the NHS England clinical pharmacist initiative, there is awareness within the four London and South East local teams of Health Education England that there are GP surgeries which are not part of the national scheme that want to employ a clinical pharmacist, and a number of surgeries who already employ pharmacists in patient-facing roles. All four areas have the intention to support pharmacists working in general practice who are outside the national pilot, but in order to support the pharmacists and make the best use of resources, data on the numbers of pharmacists in general practice and their training needs is required. 

A scoping exercise was therefore undertaken to determine the current numbers of pharmacists working in a clinical patient-facing role in general practice who are not enrolled on the national pilot, and to scope and prioritise training needs to inform future commissioning intentions. A full report of the findings can be found here .
Following analysis of the report, known practice pharmacists have been signposted to a number of resources to help their educational requirements. The report has also highlighted the variability in knowledge of day 1 general practice pharmacists, which informed the commissioning of a Preparation for General Practice course.

Preparation for General Practice

In light of the scoping exercise and with regard to the NHS England programme to recruit a further 1500 pharmacists into general practice, HEE LaSE Pharmacy commissioned a Preparation for General Practice course for any pharmacist with more than 2 years post qualification experience who was interested in understanding more about general practice pharmacy and wanted to prepare themselves for a role within this sector. The course ran throughout Jan, Feb and March 2017 in London, Kent, Surrey & Sussex. Due to strong demand a further training course was held in June. 
In brief the course comprised


Pre-course reading material covering topics such as national policy, GP Forward View, repeat prescribing policies


Two-day interactive face-to-face programme, with various dates encompassing weekdays and weekends across London and the South East-choose any two dates from the selection that suit (eg one weekday and one weekend)


Post-course action plans


Content prepared and delivered by senior currently-practicing GP pharmacists with practical experience of day-to-day working, and an education and training team currently teaching at UCL school of pharmacy

You can access the full evaluation report below. 

Pharmacist/GP Learning in Partnership Project

Following successful rollouts of trainee GP/pharmacist placements in LaSE, a project was initiated in North, Central and East London to pair qualified pharmacists with GPs in their locality. The pairs jointly attended a leadership programme, undertook placements in each other’s workplace, and completed a quality improvement audit having identified issues that they could work together to remedy. The project was externally evaluated and can be accessed here  

Recruitment for the next phase of this project, now extended across LaSE, is planned for November 2017-January 2018.