CPPE welcomes the eagerly awaited NHS England evaluation of phase 1 (pilot) of the clinical pharmacists in general practice scheme (CPGPE), delivered by the University of Nottingham.
The report outlines how pharmacists were found to have made a unique and valuable contribution to primary care skill mix and increased capacity to deliver effective and safe patient care in general practice.
"The role (of clinical pharmacists) has had a wide-ranging impact on the work in General Practice, most notably on contributing to improved capacity and changes in workload, and in medicines optimisation and safety."
The University of Nottingham report outlines the roles undertaken by clinical pharmacists during the pilot phase of the scheme. Outcomes from these roles include:
• holistic care of patients
• promoting patient understanding of their long term conditions and medication
• patient satisfaction during transfer of care
• improved access to appointments
• reduced readmission post-hospital discharge
• improved medication knowledge in the wider multidisciplinary team
• increased availability of GP appointments
The Nottingham evaluation outlines how training and mentoring is vital to the development of the role of the GP clinical pharmacist. Here at CPPE we are sector leaders in providing training and development opportunities for clinical pharmacy training. Over 400 pharmacists recently completed Phase 1 of our Clinical pharmacists in general practice education (CPGPE) programme, upskilling to develop their patient-facing role in a general practice setting. Phase 2 of the programme, launched in January 2018, aims to progress a further 1650 pharmacists through the training programme.
Pharmacists on the programme benefit from training on clinical topics, leadership and clinical assessment skills. All participants benefit from personal support from CPPE’s educational supervisors and this allows them to develop in the innovative role described in the Nottingham evaluation. The aim of this programme is to alleviate the workforce challenges in primary care and deliver excellent, quality care for patients. Education resources, such as the role progression handbook, are available to support practices and pharmacists to negotiate a role that meets patient needs, extends the pharmacists’ skills and integrates them into the multidisciplinary team.
Ceinwen Mannall, national lead for CPGPE at CPPE, discusses the role of pharmacists in a Practice Business article. She outlines how CPPE’s education pathway has played a fundamental role to embed the clinical pharmacist role in general practice to realise benefits for patients and practices.
“Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians play an integral role in general practice – offering patient-facing, person-centred care by providing medication reconciliation, advice, reviews and high-priority common and long-term condition management.”
CPPE has delivered a national work-based CPGPE assessment strategy and linked curriculum competencies following wide consultation with stakeholders. We welcome the recommendation in the Nottingham report for future development of competencies within the evolving context of a career structure for pharmacists in general practice.
The Nottingham University report shows that strong business management, clear job descriptions and clinical pharmacist integration are facilitators for successful implementation of the scheme. Mismatch in expectations around the clinical pharmacist role and lack of support for local evaluation of impact are identified as challenges. An article in the British Journal of General Practice identifies appropriate integration into the practice environment and clinical support for the emerging clinical pharmacist role as additional challenges.
Strong links with community pharmacy are cited in the Nottingham University report as a key success indicator. Our CPGPE pathway places community pharmacy training at the very heart of the programme to show the importance of communication and multidisciplinary learning in supporting improved patient outcomes, especially within transfer-of-care scenarios.
CPPE’s plan for Phase 2 of the CPGPE scheme has been widely welcomed by pharmacists and GPs, to support role development, building leadership capability and advancement of clinical skills.
Find out more about the NHS England Clinical Pharmacists in General Practice scheme here.