What is a Clinical Pharmacist?

Clinical pharmacists work in Primary Care as part of a multidisciplinary team, in a patient facing role to clinically assess and treat patients using expert knowledge of medicines for specific disease areas.

If they are recruited under the additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS), they must complete the 18-month Primary Care Pharmacy Education Pathway from the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE).

If they are not already independent prescribers, they can then complete an independent prescribing qualification.

They work with and alongside the general practice team, taking responsibility for patients with chronic diseases and undertaking clinical medication reviews to proactively manage people with complex polypharmacy, especially for the elderly, people in care homes and those with multiple comorbidities.

The role of pharmacy professionals is expanding:

  • Patients and other health professionals are becoming increasingly reliant on the clinical knowledge and skills of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
  • Clinical pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are being developed and deployed across Primary Care Networks.
  • Across Integrated Care Systems, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are working in a multitude of roles:
  • Supporting services including hospital and prehospital care
  • Supporting urgent treatment and emergency care and specialist services including cancer, mental health, genomics, health and justice and ambulance service
  • As prescribing pharmacists in integrated urgent care teams including NHS 111.
  • Community pharmacists are providing a range of services including medicines optimisation, prescribing and urgent care for minor illnesses.
  • 2020 saw the launch of a five-year reform of pharmacist initial education and training, led by HEE and overseen by the pharmacy professional regulator.What do Clinical Pharmacists do?

HEE Quality Framework

  • Clinical medication reviews for patients with single or multiple long – term conditions where medicines optimisation is required
  • Reconcile medicines following discharge from hospitals or intermediate care and working with patients and community pharmacists to ensure patients receive the medicines they need post-discharge and to reduce the risk of readmission
  • Be involved in multidisciplinary clinical meetings within the PCN where appropriate
  • Contribute to the provision of out of hours/on call/extended services for the practice and the patients. These can include patient facing and telephone consultations, signposting to other services and/or healthcare professionals where appropriate, while working within scope of practice and limits of competency.
  • Manage repeat prescription requests, resolving queries where possible within scope of practice. To ensure patients have appropriate monitoring tests in place when required.
  • Implement changes to medicines in line with MHRA alerts, product withdrawal or shortage and other local or national guidance • Maintain full and complete records of all patient contacts using appropriate clinical templates and coding
  • Undertake a proactive role in audit and quality improvement implementing recommendations where appropriate.
  • Provide independent information to patients with regard to medicines and prescribing changes, initiating further support from other healthcare professionals where appropriate
  • Participate in review and setting of policies relating to medicines management and prescribing and help ensure practices prescribe in accordance with local guidelines and formulary
  • Identify areas of clinical risk at network level and make recommendations to support the introduction of new working practices that will optimise the quality of prescribing and make more efficient use of network resources.
  • Monitor network practices’ prescribing against the local health economy and make recommendations for GP’s or amend within scope of practice, based on findings
  • Maintain own clinical and professional competence and be responsible for own continuous professional development
  • Work with practices to ensure full compliance with Care Quality Commission standards for safe and effective care

How do Clinical Pharmacists fit into the NHS Workforce?

Clinical pharmacists work as part of the general practice team to improve value and outcomes from medicines and consult with and treat patients directly, allowing improvement and increasing quality of patient care.

How do Clinical Pharmacists help the system?

Having clinical pharmacists in GP practices means that GPs can focus their skills where they are most needed, for example on diagnosing and treating patients with more complex conditions. This helps GPs to manage the demands on their time.

What training and qualifications do Clinical Pharmacists have?

  • All pharmacists complete a 4-year undergraduate masters degree followed by a year of pre-registration training in pharmacy practice.
  • Pharmacists frequently have post graduate diplomas in clinical pharmacy
  • Clinical Pharmacists employed through the Network Contract DES will either be enrolled in, or been granted exemption from, the 18-month Primary Care Pharmacy Education Pathway (PCPEP). This pathway equips the pharmacist to be able to practice and prescribe safely and effectively in a primary care setting.
  • All Clinical Pharmacists will be part of a professional clinical network and will always be clinically supervised by a senior Clinical Pharmacist and GP clinical supervisor.
  • Independent prescribing is in addition to the training pathway and will be completed following completion of the PCPEP.

Fact Sheet Clinical Pharmacist

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