NPA: Utilising the whole pharmacy team could free up 18 million GP appointments

NPA: Utilising the whole pharmacy team could free up 18 million GP appointments

July 3, 2018

A new care model could free up 18 million GP appointments a year if it were replicated across the whole of England, a report from the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has estimated.

The Integrated Care Model saw staff at Jaunty Springs Medical Practice in Sheffield referring patients to nearby Basgreen Pharmacy as part of a ‘Shared Care’ agreement. The aim was to improve the patient experience by encouraging people to be more active in their own care management, whilst at the same time reducing GP workload. The report concludes that through this model the community pharmacy team can provide cost-effective care at scale.

Tasks undertaken by the community pharmacy team included support for patients with long-term conditions, delivering structured medication reviews, co-ordination of repeat prescriptions, and ensuring evidence-based prescribing in the GP practice. The vast majority of these interventions took place in the community pharmacy’s consultation room rather than at the GP practice, with IT integration, including read/write access to the full GP Clinical Record, enabling information to be shared between the pharmacy and the practice in real time.

The model closely followed a larger scheme in Sheffield, funded by the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund programme. PSNC wrote about the evaluation of this service pilot in 2016.

The potential annual economic benefits of the Jaunty Springs Integrated Care Model include:

  • An equivalent of 1,200 GPs created per day of community pharmacy support*;
  • An additional 17.73 million GP appointments created for every day of community pharmacy support*;
  • Up to 7.5% reduction in A&E attendances; and
  • 21% reduction in hospital admissions from care homes.

* If every pharmacy were to provide just one day of clinical support to General Practice each week.

The report goes on to make a number of recommendations to work towards implementing this model across England.

The full evaluation report and a summary are available here.

Garry Myers, who is the owner of the pharmacy and an executive partner in the surgery, said:

“The experience of working in this way was beneficial for Basegreen Pharmacy and Jaunty Springs Medical Practice, which may not have survived without this partnership, as it was being overwhelmed by the needs of the local population. But above all, it’s been great for patients in the area, who have benefited from the improved access to medicines support.  We have adopted the successful principle that any patient that could be well managed by the community pharmacist should be referred there to reduce practice workload, improve the patient experience and encourage positive patient attitudes towards self-care.”

PSNC Chief Executive, Simon Dukes, said:

“The Jaunty Springs model gives us yet another excellent example of the many ways in which enabling community pharmacists to provide more care for patients could have a positive impact on GP practices, helping them to manage the growing pressure they are under. The benefits to patients and to wider NHS services, including in economic terms, are also clearly evident from this report. Integration of community pharmacy services with other healthcare providers is something that we will continue to support and work towards, and we very much hope to see examples of successful joint working like this becoming the norm, rather than the exception.”


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