Overview of clinical pharmacists
In different parts of England general practices have started to include clinical pharmacists in their multi-disciplinary teams. Practice-based pharmacists work as part of the general practice team to resolve day-to-day medicine issues and support the wider healthcare teams (including community mental health and hospital pharmacy) to help utilise skill mix, improve patient outcomes, ensure better access to healthcare and help GP’s manage the demands on their time.
In south Southwark among our pilot sites, having a pharmacist in GP practices means GP’s can focus their skills where they are most needed, for example on diagnosing and treating patients with complex conditions.
What are we doing in south Southwark?
Since January 2018 IHL have employed three clinical pharmacists who have been working with eight of our GP practices.
They have all been an integral part of the GP practice team and have had a positive impact on the day to day operational needs within the practices.
From January 2018 to September 2019 our clinical pharmacists have had 7124 patient contacts.
When will I see a clinical pharmacist?
You will see a clinical pharmacist when you need expert advice on your medicines. If your condition needs diagnosing, you will usually see a GP first, who may then refer you on to a practice nurse or clinical pharmacist. Below are some examples of how a clinical pharmacist can help:
- Long-term conditions
If you have a condition such as asthma, type 2 diabetes, arthritis or high blood pressure, the clinical pharmacist can discuss the medicines you’re taking to make sure they’re working for you. They can also help you with lifestyle changes to help you manage your condition.
- Experiencing side effects
If you are experiencing side effects from your medicines, you and the clinical pharmacist can discuss this and work together to find a solution, such as changing your medicine or the dosage. If you are taking a number of different medicines, the clinical pharmacist can help make sure they are working well together.
- Reviewing your medicines
If you are taking medicines over the long-term, you should be seen for a review at least once a year. The clinical pharmacist can review all your medicines, discuss how they are working for you and carry out health checks, such as taking your blood pressure. They can also arrange for you to have blood or other tests.
- After a stay in hospital
If your medicines have been changed while you were in hospital, the clinical pharmacist can help explain these changes and ensure you get the maximum benefit from these medicines.
- Common illnesses
If you are suffering from a common illness such as a cold, hay fever, diarrhoea or an eye infection, you may see the clinical pharmacist instead of your GP. The clinical pharmacist may be able to prescribe medicines to treat your condition. You will always be referred to a GP if there is a need.