With more emphasis on pharmacists and GPs working together than ever before, one Hampshire contractor tells Rachel Carter what needs to happen to make that a reality
Sid Dajani is a contractor in Hampshire. Looking ahead to the introduction of Primary Care Networks (PCNs) later this year, he shares his thoughts on what needs to change:
1. Introduce a national framework
‘I think to develop any kind of relationship, we need a national framework that goes beyond the primary care network and incentivises GPs and community pharmacists to work together. We cannot expect everything to happen at local level, there has to be some national involvement.’
2. Create local arrangements that promote joint working
‘We also need to have local arrangements that will enable closer working relationships between community pharmacy and general practice, so that we are encouraged and incentivised to do it.
‘For example, if we had incentives where the clinical commissioning group facilitated regular meetings between the LPC, the LMC, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Royal College of GPs on a local level, then this could be used to discuss local health needs and joint working.
‘This closer working agenda should also not solely focus on clinical services and medicine supply, but also public health and care in the community and how we can encourage patients to self-care.’
3. Better methods of communication and information sharing
‘We need to be able to share information more easily between pharmacists and GPs.
‘For example, we might have access to summary care records, but we don’t have ‘read and write’ access, so we don’t know if any feedback we’re giving is positive, negative, or whether it makes a difference. I know I’ve referred 15 patients this month, but apart from the patient coming back and saying thank you, I’ve no idea what’s happening – so having that access would be great.
‘We also need to think about other forms of sharing clinical information, such as at monthly meetings, and an IT system that allows for a two-way exchange with GPs. I know we have emails, but they rarely reply, so having an online discussion platform with local GPs would be helpful.’
4. Shared education and training is key
‘Having the opportunity to undertake education and training together is immensely important. It would enable us to discuss our differential diagnoses of common illnesses and how we treat those, and come to some common understanding of what each other’s roles would be. This would remove the element of competition and would result in shared respect and consideration.’
Rachel Carter is a freelance journalist