‘All general practices would benefit from a pharmacist’s expertise.’

prescribing - benzodiazepines

All general practices would benefit from a pharmacist’s expertise, according to the Royal College of GPs Scotland and Royal Pharmaceutical Society Scotland.

The two groups have issued a joint statement outlining the guiding principles for the evolving role of pharmacists working in GP practices.

The principles aim to ensure patients get maximum benefit from the “complementary skills and expertise” of both professions, working together as part of the wider primary care team.

The two groups have been working together for the last four years to increase GP-pharmacist collaboration and break down perceived barriers to working together.

“We strongly believe that patient care can be improved through greater synergy between GPs and pharmacists,” says the joint statement.

“We believe that all GP practices would benefit from, and patients should have access to, the expertise of a pharmacist, helping patients to make the best use of their medicines, including minimising avoidable harm, and reducing unplanned hospital admissions as a result.”

“Having had a pharmacist in the practice team for many years now I can see how this improves the quality of care within the practice by increasing patient access to the wider healthcare team and contributing to the demand for appointments by dealing directly with acute patient concerns related to their medication and with minor ailments,” said Elaine McNaughton, deputy chair (policy), RCGP Scotland.

“Working together in the management of long term conditions can help reduce unplanned admissions to hospital by improving patient safety in the overall use of medicines.

“Having the expertise in all aspects of medicines available to the whole team is a tremendous resource to free up GP time for more complex care.”

The RPB and RCGP also remain keen to ensure that community pharmacists are further enabled to work with GPs and other health professionals to improve patient care both in and out of normal practice opening hours.

The statement outlines the developing role of the General Practice Clinical Pharmacist, which will vary across different practices and settings.

The main aim of the new Scottish Government funded pharmacist posts is to widen the primary care team and support GP practices.

Areas of responsibility would include:

  • reducing inappropriate polypharmacy;
  • reviewing patients on high-risk medicines;
  • ensuring complete and accurate medication records including medicines prescribed out with the practice;
  • supporting patients through changes post-discharge and moving between care settings; and
  • encouraging and supporting people with long term conditions to manage their medicines.


Aileen Bryson, RPS Practice and Policy Lead, says: “The joint statement between the RCGP in Scotland and the RPS in Scotland has been developed to support both GPs and general practice based pharmacists by illustrating the most appropriate ways in which pharmacists, working closely with their GP and other practice colleagues, can contribute to the practice team.
“I would urge all GPs and practice based pharmacists to use the recommendations as a building block to develop the pharmacists’ role they require for their practices and their specific patient populations to improve overall patient care.”

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1 Comment

  1. Kevin Hayward

    From my blog in forums this morning KevinH writes – I arrived in Australia in the days of skilled migration need, bringing with me a robust skill set and extremely varied workplace experiences.

    One of the joys of the Australian healthcare system was to undertake holistic reviews of patients under the HMR/RMMR scheme, without having to justify outcomes in terms of financial performance indicators.

    On the down side, I had been working at both clinical and managerial levels, in a number of fields of practice which relied on inter professional collaborative working, this appeared to be missing, particularly in primary care pharmacy.

    Well over a decade later with the HMR/RMMR scheme in crisis, we have not only diminished our esteemed clinical role, but, have also failed to develop the local collaborative structures which are essential to underpinning it.

    A joint statement of the Royal College of General Practitioners of Scotland and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Scotland emphasises how far we now lag behind in our primary care collaborative clinical practices. A joint press release today says “I would urge all GPs and practice based pharmacists to use the recommendations as a building block to develop the pharmacists’ role they require for their practices and their specific patient populations to improve overall patient care.”

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