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Pharmacists working in general practice settings and how the PDA can help them

GP pharmacist and PDA Regional Committee member, Siddiqur Rahman explores a number of challenges and issues pharmacists face while working in general practice settings and how the PDA can support those members.

Wed 20th March 2024 The PDA

As more and more pharmacists are working in general practices (GPs) and primary care networks (PCNs), especially in England, the number of challenges and issues pharmacists face in this sector are also increasing.

The PDA launched a general practice work satisfaction survey in May 2023 and the survey results highlighted a few areas of concern such as, inadequate induction, lack of protected learning time, being given tasks that are outside their scope of practice or competence, excessive workload and pay not being reflective of their current expertise, experience, and competence.

Following this work satisfaction survey, the PDA hosted a PDA primary care and GP pharmacists’ member meeting on 24 October 2023 to discuss the survey results and potential solutions. As a PDA Regional Committee member, I found this meeting very informative. It was also interesting to hear that many other PDA members had similar key issues and themes that needed to be addressed. The meeting was useful in pinpointing exactly where support and representation is needed for primary care and GP pharmacists.

The PDA is planning on hosting similar events in the future as well as releasing a ‘PDA GP Pharmacists Recruitment Toolkit’. For current GP and PCN pharmacists, the PDA has an excellent FAQ document for prescribing and non-prescribing pharmacists working in primary care. The document addresses many of the issues that current pharmacists and they can also share this with their employers. This FAQ document can be found here.

Independent prescribing is becoming more prevalent in primary care and is a high-risk activity. The PDA recommends that current practising pharmacists, especially in primary care, should continually update and maintain their scope of practice and competence using the PDA’s Boundaries of Clinical Practice Statement (BCPS). This is also useful for revalidation with the GPhC and for inspections with CQC.

Regarding salaries in GPs and PCNs, pharmacists should be aware of the latest NHS England DES contract specifications and entitlements as well as the current maximum reimbursement amount for clinical pharmacists that PCNs can pay as part of the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) funding. This also includes costs such as PAYE, sick and holiday pay, and pension contributions. GPs and PCNs in England are, however, able to top-up any extra salary payment themselves in addition to the current ARRS funding should they wish to do so in order to either retain their current, experienced, and well-qualified pharmacist workforce or recruit any new and experienced clinical pharmacists.

By GP pharmacist and PDA Regional Committee member, Siddiqur Rahman

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