Musings from a Pharmacist in a GP practice

When I first heard about the Enhancing Primary Care programme and this scheme, I became quite excited. I thought it very forward thinking and a great use of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund.

Having been involved with the LPC (Local Pharmaceutical Committee) for a number of years, I should not have been so surprised. Sheffield has always had great Community Pharmacy activity and a fantastic relationship with whichever commissioning body was in place at the time. Community Pharmacy in Sheffield was one of the first areas to have in place a supervised administration and needle exchange scheme. This required a partnership with other stakeholders e.g. DAAT. This service became very successful and was revered throughout the country.

With all the talk in the pharmaceutical press of how there should be a Community Pharmacist in every GP surgery, this seemed to come at the right time. As soon as I received the invitation for expressions of interest, I registered mine. Wherever I have worked, I have tried to get to know the local practice(s) as soon as possible. In doing so, this builds a level of trust and it is then a lot easier trying to sort things out for the benefit of patients.

The introductory letter arrived with details of what happens next and suggested work streams of what I might provide to the practice. I was told to expect contact from the named GP on the letter, who was aware of me as the allocated pharmacist. After two weeks of waiting, I decided to bite the bullet and contact the practice. I arranged to attend an initial meeting with the GP the following week. I went along to the practice as arranged and had a meeting with the GP, current practice pharmacist, a member of practice staff who was taking notes and another Community Pharmacist. As the practice is split over two sites and has quite a large population, it was deemed that two pharmacists would be allocated. I thought this was a great idea. We both covered different patients and would have different experiences. We can probably learn a lot from each other and I look forward to working together on all fronts. The GP suggested some things that would benefit the practice as potential work streams. These mainly were to do with long term conditions and rationalising prescribing. The practice pharmacist suggested that we could try and help house bound patients, as they are always hard to reach. From this initial discussion, I am sure that the coming year will prove to be a successful one. There are potentially a number of aspects of this work that could be attempted, but we will have to be careful and try to walk before we can run. I am unfamiliar with the practice’s IT systems, so some training into this would seem a good place to start. I left the meeting feeling quite optimistic for the year ahead and will await the next contact from the practice to arrange an induction. This should then be followed by regular working within the practice around agreed parameters. I look forward to updating you as this progresses.