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Example job descriptions for practice pharmacists published in GP guide

Pharmacy body’s guide gives a sense of the qualifications, skills and experience pharmacists may need to work in general practice.

Pharmacy body’s guide gives a sense of the qualifications, skills and experience pharmacists may need to work in general practice. In the image, candidates sit waiting for a job interview

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GP practices taking part in an NHS England pilot will begin hiring pharmacists later in 2015

Detailed example job descriptions of the roles that practice-based pharmacists can have in GP surgeries have been published as part of a pharmacy body’s recruitment guide for GPs.

The Primary Care Pharmacists Association (PCPA) document, ‘A guide for GPs considering employing a practice pharmacist’, explains the value that pharmacists can bring to GP surgeries, the roles they can undertake, the skills and qualities GPs should look for and methods of recruitment, including example job descriptions and advertisements.

The guide has been endorsed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and the Royal College of General Practitioners, which jointly campaigned for practice-based roles for pharmacists to ease demands on GPs and improve patient care.

Practices in England are set to employ around 250 pharmacists in a £15m three-year pilot, announced by NHS England in July 2015. Practices seeking to take part will need to submit details of the pharmacist role, job description and person specification as part of their application.

The job descriptions included in the guide are an illustration of the potential scope of a practice pharmacist’s role, based on real examples shared by PCPA members working in practices, the organisation said. These suggest that practices could require pharmacists applying for junior positions to have a minimum of two years’ post-qualification experience in community, hospital or primary care pharmacy, and be working towards a prescribing qualification if required. For advanced roles, extensive post-qualification experience in general practice and an independent prescribing qualification may be needed.

The example employment criteria mention RPS membership as “essential” for roles in general practice, and working towards or holding membership of the RPS Faculty as “desirable”. Similarly, “an appreciation of the nature of GPs and general practices” is stated as essential. Qualifications such as an MPharm degree or clinical diploma could also be considered necessary.

The guide includes an extensive list of potential tasks for pharmacists in the roles, such as organising medicines reconciliation after discharge, risk stratification, repeat prescribing, medication reviews, long-term conditions clinics, public health campaigns and cost-saving programmes.

Two sample job advertisements refer to hiring entry level and more advanced level pharmacists at bands 7 and 8 respectively, although the PCPA clarified that these are only intended as examples. The guide also explores options for how to recruit pharmacists through direct employment, locum hire or a contract with a local commissioning organisation.

Ravi Sharma, chair of the PCPA Practice Pharmacist Group and lead practice pharmacist at DMC Healthcare, says: “This short guide will hopefully both encourage and support GPs in the employment of a practice pharmacist. In my practices we have shown that by having a pharmacist as part of the practice team, we can all work together to improve patient health outcomes and deliver higher-quality care.”

Heidi Wright, RPS practice and policy lead for England, says: “One of our key aims is to create better integration between pharmacists and GPs for the benefit of patient care. One way of doing this is for pharmacists to become part of the multidisciplinary team within GP practices. This new guide from the PCPA provides lots of practical information for GPs and demonstrates the benefits of employing a pharmacist in their team. We hope it provides GPs with confidence and the detail they need to take that next step and increase the skill mix in their surgery.”

GP practices will need to submit applications to take part in the pilot by 5pm on 17 September 2015. Clinical pharmacists are expected to be in post by early 2016.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20069209

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  • Pharmacy body’s guide gives a sense of the qualifications, skills and experience pharmacists may need to work in general practice. In the image, candidates sit waiting for a job interview

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