Community pharmacy teams are the unsung heroes of the NHS.
Around 1.6million people visit a pharmacy every day and their interventions dealing with minor aliments takes considerable pressure of GP services. Indeed conditions experienced by one in 3 patients in GP waiting rooms could effectively be managed by pharmacists.
Over 1 billion prescription items were dispensed in 2015 involving numerous contacts with patients where information on medicines are shared and advice given.
From a public health perspective, pharmacists see more healthy people than any other group of primary health care professionals. They are well placed to make interventions to help keep people healthy, and to prompt people to make healthy choices.
Pharmacy Team Colleagues
A pharmacy team, fully integrated within a modern health centre, can bring significant benefits to the wider primary health care team – not just to the patients being served. The vast majority of modern NHS care interventions result in a prescription medicine being prescribed, and so the opportunity for such interventions to be supported by a qualified medicines expert is very significant indeed, from advising on how to take the medicines properly, to vigilance for side-effects and correct dosing. If such issues arise and are not addressed then the efforts of the GP will have been in vain, leading to considerable waste, as well as the presenting condition not being treated properly.
Many surgeries with co-located pharmacies have put protocols in place allowing receptionists to refer patients directly to the pharmacist, without an appointment!
Pharmacists provide “medicines use reviews” to their patients and these can often involve a quick blood pressure check or a blood glucose check, etc. Some practices encourage their pharmacist to log such data on to the patients’ medical records which will help paint a fuller picture when the patient has their next annual Medical Review. Indeed the pharmacist will fast-track a patient for a GP appointment if they detect a reading which might give cause for concern.