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Named pharmacist proposed for elderly care

RPS to resume calls for elderly patients’ pharmaceutical care to be overseen by a single identified pharmacist.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is set to resume calls for elderly patients to have a named pharmacist responsible for overseeing their medicines, according to Sandra Gidley (pictured), chair of its English board

Source: Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board Sandra Gidley said an allocated pharmacist could provide an overview and regular review of vulnerable patients’ medicines

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is set to resume calls for elderly patients to have a named pharmacist responsible for overseeing their medicines, according to the chair of its English board.

Community pharmacist and chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board Sandra Gidley said an allocated pharmacist could provide an overview and regular review of vulnerable patients’ medicines in a similar manner to the coordination of care for over-75s provided by named GPs, an initiative introduced in April 2014.

Gidley said the RPS may include the measure within its upcoming campaign to improve pharmaceutical care in residential homes, which is due to launch early in 2016.

Speaking at a Westminster Health Forum event in London on 17 November 2015, Gidley said: “People over 75 have a named GP in a practice. I think it would be a good idea if there is a named pharmacist — someone taking responsibility for an individual’s pharmaceutical care.”

“It doesn’t have to be age-related, it could be linked to somebody on a number of medicines, or somebody with a number of long-term conditions,” she added.

Gidley told The Pharmaceutical Journal: “If somebody’s [taking] a lot of medicines, it makes perfect sense for them to have a named pharmacist as well who is responsible for the pharmaceutical care and liaising with the GP. When you have a situation where there will be hospital pharmacists, community pharmacists and possibly a pharmacist in a [GP] surgery, there needs to be some clarity over how that is managed.

“For some people, the best pharmacist will be the community pharmacist because that’s where the interaction is. There may come a point where they’re at home or there’s a bit more complexity and a practice-based pharmacist might be the best person.”

She said the idea was still in its early stages and welcomed input from RPS members and others.

The RPS previously recommended the concept to the Department of Health in its response to a 2013 government consultation on improving the health and care of vulnerable older people.

Since April 2014, general practices have been required to name an accountable GP responsible for coordinating their elderly patients’ care. This was extended to all patients a year later.

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association backed the concept of named pharmacists for patients with long-term conditions in its response to NHS England’s Call to Action consultation in 2014. Mark Drakeford, minister for health and social services in Wales, previously expressed his support for the idea to be piloted in Wales. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20200117

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  • The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is set to resume calls for elderly patients to have a named pharmacist responsible for overseeing their medicines, according to Sandra Gidley (pictured), chair of its English board

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