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ARC-GM publishes new paper on the role of clinical pharmacists in general practice

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ARC-GM publishes new paper on the role of clinical pharmacists in general practice

A recent paper published in the British Journal of General Practice examines the decision-making processes of pharmacists in general practice and the impact of funding and employment models on these decisions.


General practices are struggling with unmanageable workload and workforce shortages. Bringing in non-medical professionals to support General Practitioners (GPs) and fill gaps in provision is often seen as part of the solution. As the variety of roles working in general practice expands, deciding who should do what work becomes more complex.


In the study, led by researchers funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research, Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM), the team interviewed forty-one pharmacists, GPs and other staff working at general practices in England and compared experiences of two different general practice pharmacist funding and employment models. 


The research team found there to be four common factors that influenced the negotiation of the GP pharmacist role:


  1. role ambiguity;
  2. competing demands and priorities;
  3. potential for (in)appropriate utilisation of clinical skills; and
  4. level of general practice control over the role.


The research team also found that the employment and/or funding model for the GP pharmacist can affect role negotiation and lead to unintended consequences, such as the inappropriate utilisation of non-medical professionals’ skills.


NIHR ARC-GM funded researcher and lead author, Dr Fay Bradley, commented:


“The study sheds more light on the introduction of pharmacists into general practice and reveals that new general practice roles are not well-defined and tend to develop and evolve through local practice-level negotiation. However, several factors can influence the success of these negotiations and ultimately affect the contribution new roles can make to patient care.”


The NHS in England offers general practices funding to help employ a range of new roles; currently, primary care networks can claim reimbursement for the salaries of 17 new roles through the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme. These findings have wider applicability for the introduction of other non-medical roles into general practice.


Read the full publication here.


Published 25/01/2024

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