Making an impact on Abbottswood

29 June 2017

Adapting its skill-mix was very much on the radar of the Abbottswood Medical Centre in Pershore, Worcestershire 18 months ago.

The practice saw it as a route to improve access and relieve pressure on GPs.

Against that background, says practice manager Helen Perry, NHS England’s clinical pharmacists in general practice initiative “seemed to be the right programme at the right time”.

Perry says the pharmacist they recruited through the programme is a confident and personable professional whose work has improved patient care and reduced the burden on GPs.

Perry and the six GP partners and one salaried GP value the input the pharmacist is making.

“She is making a difference and we can see the potential for expanding the role: she is a very committed professional who is suggesting things she could be doing. She comes to GPs with ideas and her work is having an impact. Previously we only had the clinical commissioning group providing a pharmacist to come in and do a specific piece of work.”

Soon after the clinical pharmacist began work last April the practice undertook a major training exercise with its reception team to improve the signposting of patients to the appropriate health professional.

Perry explains: “We had a huge education and training exercise with the reception team and the clinical pharmacist was very much involved in that. This was aimed at improving the signposting of patients and coincided with us recruiting two advanced nurse practitioners over the last two years. We wanted the reception team to confidently direct calls from patients to professionals other than GPs where that was appropriate.

“Appointment pressure has fallen and patients are being seen appropriately and more quickly.”

The pharmacist runs her own hypertension clinics and Perry says patients are responding well to these.

“Initially GPs referred patients to the hypertension clinic but now all new cases of patients with hypertension are directed to the pharmacist who manages their care.”

Patients have responded positively to the pharmacist’s expertise, Perry says.

“They are coming into the clinics without any problems although we haven’t done a patient survey yet. The pharmacist is very personable and she has had real successes with a few patients we we have had with non-compliance issues.”

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