Pharmacists working in surgeries can cut the time GPs would normally spend on medicines management and prescribing issues by nearly half, according to a report by the Nuffield Trust which looked at developing the existing NHS workforce.
The report, ‘Reshaping the workforce to deliver the care patients need’, which was commissioned by NHS Employers and published on 17 May 2016, highlights the role of community pharmacists employed by the Haxby group practice in Hull, which needed to reshape its workforce because of unfilled GP vacancies. The practice employed its first pharmacist in 2012 with responsibility for medicines management, prescribing audits and medicines regulation.
The GPs discovered that a pharmacist working 35 hours a week could complete the same amount of work that would have taken a GP 60 hours to do in the past.
The report concludes that this case study, among others, highlights how developing the existing non-medical NHS workforce to take on new roles has “considerable benefits” for the NHS and meeting future demands.
However, Candace Imison, the report’s author and trust director of policy at the Nuffield Trust, says developing the workforce may not save money and also requires a culture change within the NHS. The changes are “not simply a ‘nice to do’ — it is urgent, and essential if the health service is to find a sustainable balance between available funding, patient needs and staff needs, and deliver services fit for the 21st century”, she says.
Source: MAG / The Pharmaceutical Journal
Sandra Gidley, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board, says the report confirms what the society has advocated for a long time: “The skills, knowledge and training that pharmacists and other NHS staff have must be better utilised to create better care for patients.”