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Pharmacy practice

Pharmacists to work in A&E departments in NHS England pilot

A pilot of pharmacists working in accident and emergency (A&E) departments in England will begin in February 2015, following a trial of the scheme in the West Midlands.

Four NHS trusts have pledged to support the project — City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Foundation Trust, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust — but more are expected to follow.

The national ED (emergency department) pharmacy pilot initiative is part of the urgent and emergency care review being undertaken by NHS England as part of its ‘NHS Five Year Forward View’. The review proposes a fundamental shift in the way these services are provided, and will be the first major demonstration of these new models of care.

The aim of the pilot is to show the potential of a near-patient clinical pharmacist working in an A&E department, as part of a joined-up, multidisciplinary, non-medical workforce.

“The recognition of the role of pharmacists working as part of a multidisciplinary team providing direct patient care is the overarching aim of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) English Pharmacy Board (EPB) campaigns,” says David Branford, chairman of the EPB at the RPS. “The fact there is now solid progress against the urgent and emergency care campaign objectives, namely that A&E departments should employ pharmacists, is great news.

“At a time when there is a growth in pharmacist numbers, it’s important that professional practice continues to expand into new areas and that this happens at scale. There are huge benefits to having a pharmacist involved at all stages of the urgent care pathway.” 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20067476

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