Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Report this comment to a moderator

Please fill in the form below if you think a comment is unsuitable. Please indicate which comment is of concern and why. Your comments will be sent to our moderator for review.

Report comment to moderator

MandatoryRequired fields.


Pharmacy must grasp new clinical opportunities with both hands


Medicines Specialist Practitioners - Helping GPs eat the elephant in the room As a senior pharmacist with 25 years hospital experience ( 10 as an independent prescriber ) who is about to take up a role as a NHSE funded clinical pharmacist in general practice I feel the need to respond to Dr Tim Parkin’s warning about pharmacists’ missed clinical opportunities.1 As he says the patients served by general practice are in need of assistance. One of the key reasons for this has been 25 years in the making, and is due to the ever increasing numbers of patients with multi morbidity and inappropriate (hyper) polypharmacy. With more than a billion prescriptions issued, and an estimated 600 000 non-elective hospital admissions due to sub optimal use of medicines, every year in England 2, this “elephant in the room” cannot be ignored any longer. The subtlety and complexity of medicines and the increasing amount of aimless “NICE endorsed”, and specialist “silo prescribing” in hospitals means medication review, in line with patients / carers wishes, by medicines experts in primary care is now essential. Ask any older patient and they will always say “I want to take fewer pills” and invariably there are always some that can be safely stopped. However this type of work is currently difficult to achieve in general practice due to a lack of dedicated time and appropriate specialist skills but will become the focus of these pharmacists. As the GP trainer on the excellent Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) training course said, this new cadre of clinical pharmacists in general practice are “neither cheap doctors nor expensive nurses” and I believe they should be thought of as a dedicated team of medicines specialist practitioners (MSP’s). Their primary aim will be not to diagnose acute illness but rather to ensure those with chronic diseases don't become acutely unwell due to preventable adverse effects of unnecessary, or non-adherence to, medicines. I am absolutely certain that GP colleagues lucky enough to have one will soon realise just how indispensable MSPs, like their advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) pioneers before them, are for providing better patient care. Steve Williams Manchester 1 Parkin T. Pharmacy must grasp new clinical opportunities with both hands. Clinical Pharmacist May 2016. 2 Medication Safety in the NHS infographic faults and remedies NHS England March 2015

Posted date

9 JUN 2016

Posted time



Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.