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  • Writer's pictureDavid Harper

UK Invests £16M To Get Pharmacists Into GPs

NHS England Invests £16M To Bring 403 Pharmacists Under GP Roofs

In November of last year the government’s commissioning body for the NHS, NHS England, announced that they were doubling funding for their recruitment of pharmacists into GP surgeries from £15m to £31m.

The announcement followed the tremendous success of the initial trials and expanded the scheme to cover over a huge total of 698 GP practices across 73 sites nationwide. As reported by Chemist & Druggist, these sites have been finalised and the amount of practices from them breaks down as follows:

  1. 83 of the Practices selected are in the London region.

  2. A further 230 hail from the English south.

  3. 182 is the number to be found in the midlands.

  4. The North rounds off the selection with 203 practices.

The scheme is projected to benefit over 7 million patients across the UK and has created an immediate initial demand for pharmacists under GP roofs, with a view to more being required should the scheme become fully sponsored nationwide.

Ian Cummings, current Chief Executive of Higher Education England qualified this, stating: “Pharmacists are key to effective multi-disciplinary teams in GP practices and to the delivery of high-quality patient care in a modern primary care environment.”

Therefore, as recruitment for these in-practice pharmacists continues, with a view to beginning in earnest come March & April 2016, we propose the question…

How Will The Industry Adapt To So Many Changes And Why Can We Help?

With so many immediate benefits to GP surgeries and, hence, the general public coming as a result of this scheme, surgeries should expect an exponentially increasing demand for and on the influx of new pharmacists under their roofs.

Particularly in the early months of the scheme, when we may observe a revolving door effect of full-time pharmacists relocating, surgeries are also advised to expect an initial negotiation period in which time may need to be covered by locum staff, and for any holiday periods thereafter.

The scheme will also give the locum industry a powerful shot in the arm, as private pharmacies look to cover the gaps created by the migration of their pharmacists into GP surgeries.

During this time of difficult change and the unpredictable sudden potential absence of the usual pharmacist workforce, we warn that branches and surgeries alike could easily find themselves unable to function – with blocks of whole days abruptly without a qualified pharmacist scheduled to be in the building.

That’s where Pharmaseekers comes in and we encourage all to be proactive about enquiring with us, before the scheme begins in earnest in March, to make sure any potential absences, short or long, are accounted for.

Why Pharmaseekers?

Pharmaseekers is the preeminent forward-thinking locum pharmacist agency in the United Kingdom.

Having honed our craft over this past decade, no agency has crafted a more proactive, more time-efficient method of connecting locum pharmacists with pharmacies than we have, and we have no shame in saying it.

As locums who have signed up with us already know and say well, we go out of our way into late hours of the night to search for suitable locums to fill the gaps, no matter how late they’re posted. Sometimes, this process can happen as quickly as within hours, as we source an ever growing bank of locums by region to cover for sudden and emergency absences.

In addition, particularly with newly created positions as this scheme will present, it’s vitally important for all involved that the right staff for that particular branch are brought in. Our extensive and interactive review procedure guarantees that locums who you review well are starred for any future requests, meaning they receive priority notification of the work.

Therefore, in these potentially stressful coming months when lots of new pharmacists will be switching jobs, allow us to take the pressure off your scheduling and covering needs by bringing the most well-received, highly-praised locums directly to your door.

What Does It Mean For Locums?

It means opportunity.

It means more work, it means more placements and it means the potential to prospectively convert an initial temporary stint in a newly recruiting location into a permanent one, should the position be to both parties’ liking.

However, should locuming remain your focus, it means the chance for a wide variety of positions, both geographically and culturally. With so many options available, it would be very easy to become overwhelmed by all the rapid change around you, which is why again we stress the benefits of our service.

With Pharmaseekers, all the work is delivered to you online by our bespoke management system, meaning you can manage your time and activities from the comfort of your home and holding only a mobile phone. Rather than having to seek the work in evenings when you’d rather be resting, we bring it to you.

On a slightly different tack, it also means that the ever-evolving role of the pharmacist will likely continue to do just that. With the government having pushed so much lately for the public to inquire at pharmacies for common ailments, it could easily be the beginning of patients who book into GPs for a rash, cold or sexual health concerns being directed to see the pharmacist first.

Sandra Gidley, of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, has responded to the news in a similar light , calling it a ‘real vote of confidence’ in the pharmacy industry and adding “NHS England’s support in evolving the role of the practice pharmacist will prove enormously valuable to both patients and other clinicians. More patients will see at first-hand the difference a practice pharmacist can make to their health and more GPs will come to regard them as an essential part of the multidisciplinary team in their practice.”

So, How Can You Best Prepare For The Future?

Whilst the future is bright for pharmacists, with change also comes adaptation and that can be a trying and scary process, especially in a new working environment.

For those pharmacists who make the move into GP surgeries, you can expect a sharp increase in the amount of patients referred to you for advice. ‘Guest Consultations’ will eventually become simply ‘Consultations’ and if the scheme progresses, training courses may be offered to pharmacists in diagnosing minor and common ailments.

Therefore, whether you’re considering the option of moving into GP practices now or prospecting the possibility of doing it down the line, now is a good time to brush up on basic ailment diagnostics.

Becoming qualified for local and national commissioned services is also a good place to begin, as this will allow you to perform flu-jabs on site, in addition to other services often delegated to the on-site nurse(s).

As for the GPs and pharmacies, your best option is to be proactive. Don’t allow yourself to get caught scrambling to cover for work with no resource to draw from the night before. Register with us now and you can post any periods of work from a single day to multiple weeks and allow us to source and direct the locums to you.

The Bottom Line

There’s a lot of change and the chance for a lot of disarray. You can struggle and stress yourself to cover it on top of your usual duties. Or, you can register with us and allow us to do what we do best and take all that pressure away from you.

We know locums and nobody in this country is better at connecting them with you than we are. Nobody.

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