PRESSURES on GP practices can be significantly alleviated by the use of community pharmacists in surgeries, according to a new NHS England report undertaken by a team from the University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK. The impact shown by the pharmacists in a number of areas not only reduced the workload on doctors and nurses but also improved patient care.
The report displayed a variety of areas in which the Community Pharmacist Independent Prescribers (CPIPs) had a positive impact. Just over half of their workload was spent undertaking medication reviews, which alleviated issues with appointments; they were also able to visit care homes to complete reviews and deal with prescription queries. As well as freeing up time for GPs, this work of the CPIPs ensured that patients received greater education about their medications, leading to greater adherence.
The CPIPs also helped GPs manage chronic disease by undertaking medication reviews and supporting patients who had been discharged from hospital with their medications. This work helped prevent readmissions. Patients were also shown to be given lengthier appointment times with CPIPs, making appointments more personalised and in depth. This also enabled more comprehensive medical advice to be given to patients, taking into account a whole range of issues, including their personal circumstances and lifestyle. There were also individual cases where the CPIPs’ detailed assessments picked up on potentially dangerous issues that had initially been missed.
The study showcases a potential way of reducing the pressures on primary care doctors and nurses in the NHS. Dr Matthew Boyd, University of Nottingham, commented: “This pilot and report is very timely as it comes at a time when GP practices are under increasing pressure to provide services, with factors like an ageing population and management of a growing number of chronic conditions adding to the pressure they are under.”
The pilot project assessed the impact of six CPIPs in GP practices across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Independent data, such as observational studies and patient focus groups, were evaluated to make the findings.
James Coker, Reporter
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