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The Pharmaceutical Journal
Vol 268 No 7182 p93-96
26 January 2002

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Letters to the Editor

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Primary care pharmacy

Pharmacists involved at grassroots level

From Mr P. Gimson, MRPharmS and Mr F. Kennedy, MRPharmS

We would like to comment on some of the points raised by Peter Jenkins in his recent letter (PJ, 5/12 January, p15). We agree with his point that it does not seem fair that one set of contractors can receive an incentive payment for hitting certain targets when other contractors cannot but we do not quite understand some of the other comments.

The letter states many general practitioners see primary care pharmacists as a free helper who works full time on getting their drug budget down. While we are sure many aspects of primary care pharmacists' work does involve cost saving exercises, a lot of it also involves implementing evidence-based prescribing policies. More often than not, this will result in an increase in costs and workload, not a reduction, as has been seen with the implementation of various national service frameworks.

Of course it is vitally important that local community pharmacists are informed and involved in this process, but surely this already happens in Wales. Mr Jenkins makes the point that all contractors should be involved at grassroots level. Each local health group in Wales has a community pharmacist on its board, and this pharmacist also sits on the prescribing sub-group. These groups discuss prescribing policy for that locality. As far as we are aware, all of these pharmacists are also members of the local pharmaceutical committee. We fail to see how you can get any more "grassroots" than that.

Paul Gimson
Faiza Kennedy


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