The “turf war” between GPs and pharmacists is less of a problem than many people believe, one industry commentator says
“Dr Messenger,” writing in UK pharmacy magazine Chemist + Druggist, says that the “turf war” between the two groups of health professionals is “quite funny really” and that perhaps the war is only assumed to exist because it is so often referenced.
“If it sometimes feels like, to cope with stress and workload, GPs are perfectly happy to keep patients at bay, that’s probably because we are,” the doctor wrote.
“Which means we have absolutely no issue with patients attending the pharmacy for their minor illness or blood pressure check. You’re welcome to the work, so it’s a turf giveaway rather than war.
“When we do get aerated, it’s really not about being territorial – it’s simply exasperation that effort is being duplicated and NHS funds wasted.”
“Dr Messenger” is not the first health professional to publicly tire of the so-called war between GPs and pharmacists: in May, Scotland’s Pharmacy in Practice editor Ross Ferguson said that pharmacists need to forge closer ties with GPs and other health professionals.
“It isn’t about them and us anymore,” Ferguson wrote. “Time to move the debate on. We need to work together.”
And in Australia, Dr Edwin Kruys, who has been publicly critical of the pharmacy vaccination service and other pharmacy initiatives, said that he would like to take the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s Tim Logan up on his suggestion that the RACGP and Guild meet and find common ground.
Certainly many Australian pharmacists are keen to work closely with GPs. A poll currently open on AJP reveals that, of all the professional service options, 41% would be most keen to work as a non-dispensing pharmacist in a GP practice.
“What this says to me is that pharmacists, in general, are focussed on being actively involved in the care of consumers and prefer a collaborative role, rather than working in isolation,” consultant pharmacist Debbie Rigby commented on the poll.
“If there is a conflict to be resolved, it’s about defining, exactly, who is doing what, so that services aren’t duplicated or omitted, and resources aren’t frittered away,” Dr Messenger writes.
“And that requires not war-war, but jaw-jaw. So let’s stop pseudo-squaring up over turf and instead get round a table.”