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The CVD prevention service is proof pharmacists are picking up the slack for GPs

By Dr Livingstone
GP blogger

13 Sep 2019

I appreciate that I can sometimes come across as anti-pharmacist, but, I mean, really. If I were you, I would be getting seriously cheesed off. Not with me, but with NHS England.

Every week it seems to launch some radical new scheme for you pharmacists to get involved with. And the latest one certainly doesn’t lack for ambition – because it’s going to be your role to try to prevent cardiovascular disease. Well, it makes a change from dishing out cough linctus, I guess.

Unfortunately, the scale of the project isn’t matched by much detail. What we know thus far is that you’re going to be required to case-find hypertension and empowered to provide high strength statins OTC.

Joining the dots, I’m guessing this will entail much time and energy in measuring, interpreting and explaining blood pressure, ditto cholesterol levels, ditto also Q-Risk scores. Followed by referral or treatment, then follow-up, then monitoring and so on.

Done properly, systematically and methodically, this is virtually a full-time job in itself. And this is where you’d be entitled to feel a tad aggrieved, for two reasons:

1. Your entire raison d’etre seems to have shifted, by default, to picking up work that would otherwise fall to GPs.

2. The implication of ‘1’ above is that, whatever you pharmacists did before is now perceived as pretty low value.

Which is odd, because NHS England seem to preface all its current plans with platitudes about pharmacists being highly trained and highly respected professionals.

Makes you wish they’d make their minds up, doesn’t it?

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