250 clinical pharmacists are to be recruited to GP practices to provide direct patient care and help to ease workload NHS England has announced.
The £15m, three-year pilot project – part of the GP workforce 10-point plan agreed between the BMA GPs committee, Royal College of GPs, NHS England and Health Education England – will see pharmacists support about one million patients with self-limiting illnesses or long-term conditions.
To be able to take part in the pilot GP practices will have to demonstrate significant workforce challenges and clinical demand.
“It is important that we look at how pharmacists can work more efficiently in general practice and relieve some of the unprecedented pressure on GP services, as demonstrated by last week’s disappointing figures for GP recruitment”, said BMA GPC education, training and workforce subcommittee chair Krishna Kasaraneni.
“We will need to look closely at how these pilots operate and ensure that the clinical benefits of the scheme are clear.”
Helping GP practices to get the project underway, NHS England has pledged to part fund the clinical pharmacists for 36 months – initially at 60 per cent for the first 12 months.
Dr Kasaraneni added: “Alongside the new funding that the BMA Northern Ireland GPs committee has recently secured for pharmacy services, this is an encouraging sign that the potential and importance of the pharmacy sector is being recognised.”
Applications are to be assessed by the NHS England regional team alongside local education and training boards.