Clinical pharmacists in general practice: an initial evaluation of activity in one English primary care organisation

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Abstract

Objectives

This aim of this research was to characterise the breadth and volume of activity conducted by clinical pharmacists in general practice in Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and to provide quantitative estimates of both the savings in general practitioner (GP) time and the financial savings attributable to such activity.

Methods

This descriptive observational study retrospectively analysed quantitative data collected by Dudley CCG concerning the activity of clinical pharmacists in GP practices during 2015.

Key findings

Over the 9-month period for which data were available, the 5.4 whole time equivalent clinical pharmacists operating in GP practices within Dudley CCG identified 23 172 interventions. Ninety-five per cent of the interventions identified were completed within the study period saving the CCG in excess of £1 000 000. During the 4 months for which resource allocation data were available, the clinical pharmacists saved 628 GP appointments plus an additional 647 h that GPs currently devote to medication review and the management of repeat prescribing.

Conclusions

This research suggests that clinical pharmacists in general practice in Dudley CCG are able to deliver clinical interventions efficiently and in high volume. In doing so, clinical pharmacists were able to generate considerable financial returns on investment. Further work is recommended to examine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of clinical pharmacists in general practice in improving outcomes for patients.

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