Practice-based pharmacists prove a benefit

A STUDY has found that specialist clinical pharmacists working with 16 urban practices halved GP time spent on key prescribing activities.

In the research published in the British Journal of General Practice, GPs working in the Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership in Scotland recorded the time spent dealing with special requests, immediate discharges, outpatient requests and other prescribing issues for two weeks. This data was then compared to that from two equivalent periods in which specialist clinical pharmacists performed key prescribing activities to release GP time.

The researchers found that the time spend by GPs on key prescribing activities was reduced by 51 per cent, which equated to 4.9 hours per week per practice. Not only did this free-up GP capacity but the practices also reported improvements in patient safety, positive effects on staff morale and reductions in stress.

The researchers concluded: "Specialist clinical pharmacists are safe and effective in supporting GPs and practices with key prescribing activities in order to directly free GP capacity.

"However, further work is required to assess the impact of such service developments on prescribing cost-efficiency and clinical pharmacist medication review work."