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Pharmacists in general practice: a qualitative interview case study of stakeholders’ experiences in a West London GP Federation

Ryan, K., Patel, N. ORCID:, Lau, W. M., Abu-Elmagd, H., Stretch, G. and Pinney, H. (2018) Pharmacists in general practice: a qualitative interview case study of stakeholders’ experiences in a West London GP Federation. BMC Health Services Research, 18. 234. ISSN 1472-6963

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1186/s12913-018-3056-3


Background Increased patient demand for healthcare services coupled with a shortage of general practitioners necessitates changes in professional roles and service delivery. In 2016, NHS England began a three year pilot study of pharmacists in general practice, however, this is not an entirely new initiative. There is limited, current, evidence-based, UK research to inform the pilot so studies of pre-existing services must suffice until findings from a formal national evaluation are available. Methods The aim of this exploratory, descriptive interview study was to explore the experiences of stakeholders in eight general practices in the Ealing GP Federation, West London, where pharmacy services have been provided for several years. Forty-seven participants, including pharmacy team members (pre-registration and clinical pharmacists, independent prescribers and pharmacy technicians), general practitioners, patients, practice managers, practice nurses and receptionists took part in semi-structured, audio-recorded qualitative interviews which were transcribed verbatim, coded and analysed thematically to extract the issues raised by participants and the practicalities of providing pharmacy services in general practice. Results Findings are reported under the themes of Complementarity (incorporating roles, skills, education and workloads); Integration (incorporating relationships, trust and communication) and Practicalities (incorporating location and space, access, and costs). Participants reported the need for time to develop and understand the various roles, develop communication processes and build inter-professional trust. Once these were established, however, experiences were positive and included decreased workloads, increased patient safety, improved job satisfaction, improved patient relationships, and enhanced cost savings. Areas for improvement included patients’ awareness of services; pharmacists’ training; and regular, onsite access for practice staff to the pharmacy team. Conclusions Recommendations are made for the development of clear role definitions, identification of training needs, dedication of time for team building, production of educational materials for practice staff members and patients, and provision of on-site, full-time pharmacy services. Future work should focus on evaluation of various models of employing pharmacy teams in general practice; integration of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians into multidisciplinary general practice teams; relationships between local community pharmacy and general practice personnel and patients’ service and information needs. A formal national evaluation of the pilot scheme is overdue.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > School of Pharmacy > Pharmacy Practice Research Group
ID Code:76421
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pharmacists, general practice, roles, education, communication, trust, patients’ awareness, UK
Publisher:BioMed Central


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