Clinical Pharmacists in Norwich

Case study summary

Clinical pharmacists working across GP practices to help patients stay well and out of hospital as well as support GPs and practice nurses with demand.


Three clinical pharmacists are working across five GP practices in Norwich and are pro-actively helping patients stay safe, well and out of hospital as well as support busy GPs and practice nurses.

They began work in spring  2016 and have, according to one local GP “added a whole new dimension to patient care.”

Many patients at the five ‘pilot’ practices are now able to see a clinical pharmacist rather than a GP, because they have the specialist knowledge to help – in just the same way as many patients will see a practice nurse. It means people see the right clinician in the right place at the right time, a key ambition for Norwich’s new GP alliance called “OneNorwich”.

John Higgins, who works from Norwich Practices Health Centre, said: “It has been a big success so far. One of the major successes is that patients enjoy seeing us face-to-face, they ring to thank us afterwards!

“If a GP is unsure about anything they can send me a note and I will do the prescription via the electronic prescription service (EPS) within ten minutes.”

EPS was rolled out in Norwich last year. As well as prescribe, the clinical pharmacists undertake medicine reviews, help manage discharge of people from hospitals to make sure they are taking the right medicines in the right dose and identify patients who might need ongoing support to stay safe and well.

John said: “Many people with long term conditions like asthma don’t understand the importance of attending annual reviews, which can lead to them not using their medication properly. Some end up going to hospital. We look for those who ‘do not attend’ and telephone them to offer advice.

“We don’t want anyone going to hospital over winter, no-one does.We are helping prevent admissions by keeping people safe and well.”

John’s clinical pharmacist colleagues in Norwich are Naomi Power, who works in Oak Street and St Stevensgate Practices, and Graham Chapman who works in Woodcock Road and Taverham practices.

Both pro-actively reach out to patients who may benefit from additional medicines management as well as supporting colleagues in practices. Naomi is also developing a pain management clinic.

Naomi added: “I think having a clinical pharmacist to talk to directly, who has specialist knowledge and can advise on the latest guidelines, makes all the difference.”

Graham said: “We particularly help in discharge management, being able to identify patients where additional care and support may be needed.”

The pilot is an important part of NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group’s ‘new model of care’ and is being watched very carefully by the interim leaders of Norwich’s new alliance of GP practices called ‘OneNorwich’. Helping patients to see the right clinicians in primary care, not just a GP, is a vital part of their planning. It is also a component of the proposed Sustainability and Transformation Plan for Norfolk and Waveney.

GP Dr Chris Dent, who is on the governing body of NHS Norwich CCG, said: “patient feedback was largely positive.

He said: “Clinical pharmacists have added a whole new dimension to patient care by improving the quality and safety of prescribing and helping us to make better use of resources.”

For further information please contact:

Dr Christopher Dent
Oak Street

Tel: 01603 613 431