Pharmacy in primary care

Community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy and even commissioning is a well-established practice. Primary Care, while in its infancy, is developing fast and its value is being noted across the country. It is clear that it will be here to stay. The difference in the type of work is vast, the scope is broad, and the work carried out varies from area to area.

Pharmacists in all sectors work in time pressured environments each with their own unique challenges. Expectations are no longer from patients and pharmacy seniors alone, but from a wide array of professionals. The embedded MDT approach brings in a juggling act of managing priorities from a number of professions with their own drivers. Resources are tight and the work is complex, the clinical work requires time and attention from clinical pharmacists. As a profession, we should build on this and develop the role of pharmacists to maximise their impact.

The primary care recovery plan focuses on access and ‘Pharmacy First’ plays a significant role. Community pharmacists are stepping up to the challenge, primary care pharmacists are on the other side of this. They can and should link in and develop services to join the two areas together. Practice and PCN pharmacists are here for the long term. Short term planning in the form of five-year contracts is not enough.

What we as a profession do from this point is crucial, we need time and resource. The confidence to inject funding into pharmacy teams and to allow individuals time to develop. In my own PCN, I have been able to start making changes to the way the team works, to provide space for the development of our pharmacists. I hope it has a positive impact on the team but the key point is to push for change and make it happen. We cannot lose momentum, advocating for funding is a must and showing general practice that investment is worthwhile with evidence to back this up.

We need to plan for the future and aim to make clinical pharmacists the primary care partners of the future. We have the skill set to lead, be partners, directors, chiefs. Let’s start stepping up.

Nasrin Khan

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, May 2024, Vol 312, No 7985;312(7985)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2024.1.314775

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