GPs are unlikely to realise the benefits of a clinical pharmacist (CP) for at least 12 months, even if they invest significant mentoring, researchers have concluded in a wider evaluation of the scheme. This is double the amount of time originally suggested in an evaluation of clinical pharmacist independent prescribers in six practices published in February.
In the latest evaluation, which collated data from 12 practices and other stakeholders, as well as from a literature review, researchers found that test sites had saved two appointments per GP session, and one hour of GP time per day as a result of implementing the CP role.
Other improvements were reported in the following areas:
- (Right person right time) appropriate care
- Workflow and focus in general practice and specialized MDT
- Medication knowledge in wider clinical team leading to overall improvements in care related to medications
- Medicines management
- Care of long-term conditions which can lead to increased achievement of targets
- Professional satisfaction for CPs
- Patient satisfaction with access to a healthcare practitioner
- Adherence and incidence of side effects
- Healthy lifestyle advice and monitoring
To maximise the return on investment (RoI) from a CP, researchers recommend the role should be a minimum of two days per week, and ideally three or more to enable the CP “to be embedded in local practices and provide consistent patient service”.
In total, £143 million has been invested in the development and roll out of the CP GP role. By 2020 it is anticipated there will be over 2000 CPs, a ratio of one clinical pharmacist per 30,000 patients.