More Sussex patients to benefit from expert advice from pharmacists at their GP surgery

Friday 12th January, 2018

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Over 500,000 more patients in Sussex will soon be able to benefit from expert advice from a clinical pharmacist when they visit their GP surgery, thanks to the expansion of a national scheme to support the recruitment and training of more clinical pharmacists to help with patients’ routine medication and treatment.

Clinical pharmacists are already using their skills to benefit patient care in some Sussex GP practices, following support provided through NHS England’s clinical pharmacist in general practice programme. 

A further five schemes to support the use of clinical pharmacists in other parts of East and West Sussex have now been announced by NHS England, bringing the total number of practices in Sussex set to benefit so far from the roll out of this national programme to 80, covering over 790,000 patients.

Clinical pharmacists work as part of general practice teams by providing expertise on day-to-day medicine issues and consultations with patients directly. This includes providing extra help to manage patients’ long-term conditions, such as helping to manage a patient’s high blood pressure earlier and more effectively to prevent cardiovascular disease; advice for patients on taking multiple medications; and offering better access to health checks. This all delivers quicker access to clinical advice for patients and allows GPs to spend time with patients who have more complex needs.

Hannah Syed, a clinical pharmacist who already works at Harbour Medical Practice in Eastbourne, said:

“One of the best things about my role is that I can make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of patients. A good example is a frail, elderly patient who was identified as being at increased risk of suffering falls. Together with the patient, I had the time to review their medication, understanding their needs and we agreed to stop the medication that could have impaired their cognition, potentially avoiding any falls which could lead to hospital admission. I can also save GPs valuable time by taking on a variety of medicines-related tasks and providing expert knowledge to the wider practice team. Patients have told me how much they appreciate the thorough medication reviews I offer, and that they value the extra time I can spend with them - this makes my job even more satisfying.” 

Welcoming the increase in clinical pharmacists who will be supporting patient care in Sussex GP surgeries, registered pharmacist and Director of Commissioning Operations within NHS England’s South East team, Felicity Cox said:

“Having a clinical pharmacist in GP practices means GPs can focus their skills where they are most needed, for example on diagnosing and treating patients with complex conditions. This helps GPs manage the demands on their time and ensures patients see the health professional that best suits their needs.”