Clinical Pharmacists in General Practice

Following a successful pilot programme, which resulted in 450 full-time equivalents pharmacists working in general practice, The General Practice Forward View committed over £100 million to support an extra 1,500 clinical pharmacists to work in general practice by 2020.

This is part of a wider expansion of the general practice workforce so that patients have better local access to a range of highly trained health professionals for their needs.

Including the pilot phase, as at September 2018, 810 WTE clinical pharmacists were working in general practice, with hundreds more sites approved and in the process of recruitment.

This means that 1,834 surgeries in the country – a patient population of more than 15 million – now have access to clinical pharmacists in patient-facing roles as part of the multidisciplinary team.

Clinical pharmacists in general practice have a positive impact on patients, providing clinical assessment and treatments, expert knowledge of medicines for long-term conditions, as well as lifestyle advice, and contributing to patient safety.

The programme continues to expand the number of pharmacists in general practice.  In response to feedback from stakeholders, from 23 October 2018, NHS England has changed the criteria for the programme to make it easier for sites to operate across a smaller population size, and allowing clinical pharmacists to work part-time.

What are the criteria changes?

  • Reduction of the current population criteria from 1 WTE clinical pharmacist per 30,000 population, to 1 WTE per 15,000 population (or the proportion of WTE that can be applied to the population criteria e.g. 0.5 WTE for 7500 population).
  • Permitting part-time clinical pharmacists of a minimum of 0.5 WTE.

How to apply

GP practices and other providers of general practice medical services can submit applications on an ongoing basis through the clinical pharmacist portal.

Application deadlines are as follows:

  • Wave 8   –   closing date 22 February 2019
  • Wave 9   –   closing date 31 May 2019

Guidance and example application

Guidance for Applicants – This guidance has been developed to help potential providers who wish to apply for funding through the Clinical Pharmacists in General Practice scheme. It acts as a guide to the implementation of the scheme and aids completion of the application form.

Example Application form – This form gives practices an indication of the question on the application portal and consider their responses.

In line with the guidance, an Enhanced Service (ES) has been developed to allocate the financial offer to providers of primary medical services for employing or gaining access to a clinical pharmacist and/or senior clinical pharmacist through this programme.

About clinical pharmacists

Clinical pharmacists work as part of the general practice team to improve value and outcomes from medicines and consult with and treat patients directly. This includes providing extra help to manage long-term conditions, advice for those on multiple medicines and better access to health checks. The role is pivotal to improving the quality of care and ensuring patient safety.

Having clinical pharmacists in GP practices means that GPs can focus their skills where they are most needed, for example on diagnosing and treating patients with more complex conditions. This helps GPs to manage the demands on their time.

Case studies