Pilot sees pharmacists play greater clinical role at GP practices in Norwich

L-R John Higgins and Graham Chapman, two of the new clinical pharmacists in GP practices across Norwich.

L-R John Higgins and Graham Chapman, two of the new clinical pharmacists in GP practices across Norwich.


Patients at five GP practices in Norwich are being helped to stay safe and well at home thanks to a new team of clinical pharmacists.

The pharmacists, based at the practices, can prescribe medicines after a patient has been diagnosed by a doctor, and they can offer specialist advice on using medicines.

It is hoped this will help patients be seen by “the right clinician in the right place at the right time”, according to health chiefs in the city.

The pharmacists, educated to university level, can also carry out one-to-one reviews to ensure a 
patient remains on the right medical doses.

John Higgins, one of the pharmacists, said: “If a GP is unsure about anything they can send me a note and I will do the prescription via the electronic prescription service within 10 minutes.

“We are helping prevent admissions by keeping people safe and well.

“For example many people with long-term conditions don’t understand the importance of attending annual reviews, which can lead to them not using their medication properly.

“Some end up going to hospital. We look for those who do not attend and telephone them to offer advice.”

Another pharmacist, Naomi Power, added: “I think having a clinical pharmacist to talk to directly, who has specialist knowledge and can advise on the latest guidelines, makes all the difference.”

And colleague Graham Chapman said: “We particularly help being involved in discharge management, being able to identify patients where additional care and support may be needed.”

The five practices are part of a pilot set up by NHS England, with practices and groups invited to bid for funding to have the pharmacists in place.

The practices are Oak Street and St Stephens Gate pratices, Woodcock Road and Taverham practices, and the GP practice at Norwich Health Centre on Rouen Road.

The pilot is being watched very carefully by the interim leaders of Norwich’s new Alliance of GP Practices - called OneNorwich. Helping patients to see the right clinicians in primary care is a vital part of their planning.

The scheme is supported by Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group.

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