Date: April 13, 2017

(Released 12th April 2017)


More patients in Kent will soon be able to benefit from expert advice from a clinical pharmacist when they visit their GP surgery, thanks to the expansion of a national scheme to support a growing number of clinical pharmacists to help with patients’ routine medication and treatment.

NHS England has announced that patients in west Kent and Thanet will benefit from having pharmacists located at GP surgeries in these areas, following an initial roll out of the national scheme, which will see over 700 more GP practices in England benefit from having a pharmacist located in their GP surgery, covering up to six million patients and helping to free up GP time.

This is in addition to two existing pilot schemes in the South Kent Coast area and Medway, where clinical pharmacists are already working in local GP practices to support patient care.

Clinical pharmacists work as part of the general practice team by providing expertise on day- to-day medicine issues and consultations with patients directly. This includes providing extra help to manage patients’ long-term conditions, such as helping to manage a patient’s high blood pressure earlier and more effectively to prevent cardiovascular disease; advice for patients on taking multiple medications; and offering better access to health checks. This all delivers quicker access to clinical advice for patients and allows GPs to spend time with patients who have more complex needs.

Welcoming the plans to increase the number of clinical pharmacists supporting patient care in Kent and Medway GP practices, Sarah Macdonald, Director of Commissioning within NHS England’s South East team said:

“Having a clinical pharmacist in GP practices means GPs can focus their skills where they are most needed, for example on diagnosing and treating patients with complex conditions. This helps GPs manage the demands on their time and ensures patients see the health professional that best suits their needs.”

Jennifer Bostock, Director of Nursing at Invicta Health, who has helped lead the existing pilot clinical pharmacist scheme in the South Kent Coast area, added:

“I’ve been closely involved in the pharmacist pilot having provided supervision and guidance for two of the staff as well as working with the group as a whole. Having qualified clinical pharmacists working as part of the practice teams within these surgeries is helping to improve the level of service they can provide to their patients and to make the best possible use of the clinical skills of practice staff.”

“I’ve been really impressed with their impact in supporting the work of both practices and their absence is keenly felt when they are on leave. In particular we are very proud of the work with complex care home patients to improve their care and prevent hospital admissions.”