Created as part of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), a group made up of pharmacists, GPs, clinical commissioning groups and patients from across the county is to offer support and guidance to GP practices to apply for national funding to recruit clinical pharmacists to work in their surgeries.
This would allow GP practices to offer their patients a wider range of services under one roof and expand the clinical expertise available at their surgery.
Recruiting pharmacists to GP teams has long-term benefits, as multidisciplinary teams working together offer greater flexibility and have been proven to create better health outcomes for patients.
Pharmacists in GP practice teams can be particularly effective in using their skills and knowledge to help manage people with long-term conditions.
Dr Mani Hussain, the Chair of the Pharmacy Local Professional Network, said: “Working in practices will give our pharmacists valuable experience which they can then apply when they are working in community pharmacies.
“In future we will have an upskilled workforce which could offer patients treatment reviews in places other than their GP surgery, giving us a valuable flexibility over where we can deliver health services.
“Currently in Staffordshire we have 20 pharmacists working in GP surgeries. Our challenge is to double that figure by 2018 and the STP gives us the strategic focus and mandate we need to design better services for the future.”
Dr Hussain said that the STP was allowing health and social care workers from a range of disciplines and organisations a chance to come together to design the shape of future services.
He said: “This plan gives us the mandate to bring people together from across Staffordshire to tackle the kind of thorny issues which can be solved when you have a wider pool of participants around the table contributing to the solution.
“If we get the transformation right now then in future we will be able to offer a service that is far better for patients.”