How can pharmacists and GPs work better together?


Howard Duff, Director for England, Royal Pharmaceutical Society

The English Pharmacy Board of the RPS and National Association of Primary Care want to create a debate about how community pharmacy and general practice can work better together in the interest of patients. The RPS will be ensuring that royal colleges and patients have a say in this, but I also really want to hear the views of pharmacists. No doubt the organisations representing owners and contractors will be involved but what about the voice of those who actually do the work?

I am constantly hearing about how community pharmacists feel that they are dispensing machines and cannot utilise their huge knowledge to improve the lives of their patients. The RPS English Pharmacy Board has been campaigning to promote our role as professionals who provide care. We want to see this role recognised and integrated with the rest of the NHS. This is difficult with the current contract and the current access to the patient’s record. Which is why we want change on both of these issues.

The NHS is struggling to provide 21st Century primary care and I believe that pharmacists must be better used to help. The pharmacist should be taking on much more responsibility for treating long term conditions. Long term conditions are treated with medicines and pharmacists are the medicines experts. In order for progress to be made community pharmacies must be seen as an integral part of the NHS, joined up through the contracts, through the IT systems and through the inclusion of pharmacists in care pathways.

Our consultation takes a short amount of time to complete. It provides speedy ways to capture your views. It also provides the opportunity for you to expand on areas that you feel are particularly important.

One thing that we are very keen to capture is examples of current good practice where you are working in partnership with GPs to provide care. We want more of these so that we can demonstrate how community pharmacy is already making a difference to patient care.

Please take time to respond to the consultation before it closes on October 9.

You can take part in our consultation through the RPS website. Read the ‘improving patient care through better general practice and community pharmacy integration’ consultation document and respond with your comments using the consultation form.

Howard Duff is Director for Team England at  the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

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