A specialist clinical pharmacist working in a general practice saves an average of five hours of direct doctor time weekly, according to an analysis from Scotland.
Researchers said pharmacists also improved patient safety and staff morale. The findings come from an assessment of Scotland’s project aimed at recruiting pharmacists with advanced training into practices as a way of tackling staff shortages.
Researchers studied the impact on 16 practices in the Inverclyde region with a population of 82,000. The region surrounds Glasgow and is largely urban and quite deprived.
The pharmacists take on tasks such as responding to requests from out-patient clinics for practices to prescribe medicines and the review of medicines for patients discharged from secondary care.
Some practices said they had been able to increase doctor consultation times to 15 minutes. One GP said they now had time to take a tea break.
The researchers write: “The inclusion of additional specialist clinical pharmacists to perform key prescribing activities released an average of 5 hours’ direct GP time per practice per week; this is equivalent to one GP practice session per week.
“The additional pharmacy resource was well received and appreciated by general practice staff. However, as well as freeing up GP capacity, practices and practitioners identified positive effects on patient safety and staff morale, along with reductions in stress during the study period.”
BJGP 25 September 2018