We speak to the Pharmacist/Pharmacy Team of the Year Award shortlist ahead of this year’s General Practice Awards, run by our publisher Cogora, which will be held on 9 December at a glitzy ceremony at Novotel London West.

The fourth entry under the spotlight from this year’s shortlist of seven is the Clinical Pharmacist Solutions (CPS) team in Essex.

Adrian Murphy, training and development lead, senior clinical pharmacist, is also a member of the team.

Natalie Downes works as an operation and human resource officer in the team.

The aim of CPS is to support the general practice workforce through educating, training and helping pharmacists transition to the sector. The delivery of this training by a small team of three has not only impacted the lives of hundreds of pharmacists, but the hundreds of thousands of patients that they look after.

Entry highlights

The CPS team endeavours to equip pharmacists in general practice with essential knowledge, training, networking and ongoing support to ensure consistent delivery of high quality, evidence-based patient care. The team transferred their services online when the pandemic hit and they were unable to deliver training in-person.

Over the last 18 months, the team has managed to help more than 200 pharmacists transition into the general practice sector, created a 700-strong pharmacy network, delivered more than 50 free live webinars, produced a podcast series, provided self-assessment to help more than 2,100 pharmacists assess gaps in their knowledge, and connected with more than 8,500 pharmacists. They also supported GP surgeries, Covid-19 vaccination sites, training hubs, PCNs and federations nationwide.

Innovative training programmes the team deliver include the Clinical Pharmacist Accelerator Programme, designed to take a pharmacist with little or no experience in general practice to a level where they can work independently on tasks within a week, something which would normally take around seven months.

CPS also a developed a live, online OSCE-style assessment which simulates the work that a pharmacist would typically be asked to do and assesses the understanding and implementation of training with hands-on practice using the GP surgery software. It ensures evidence-based practice is applied to clinical decision-making when presented with a variety of typical cases. This training has been used by more than 200 pharmacists and has been described as one of best training programmes to prepare pharmacists entering the general practice sector.

What they said

Clinical Lead Runa Salim said: ‘The team and I feel honoured to be shortlisted for this award. We have worked really hard over the last few years, designing work systems that are safe, efficient and scalable and it feels great to be recognised for our efforts. To win the award would mean a lot to us and it would help us in boosting our confidence and motivation to keep working on our mission which is to transform primary care by harnessing the skills of clinical pharmacists and utilising innovative technology to improve patient safety and cost-effectiveness for the NHS.’

Meet the first team on the shortlist, South Kerrier PCN, here.

Meet the second team on the shortlist, Core Prescribing Solutions Clacton PCN Pharmacy Team.

Meet third team on the shortlist, Copes Pharmacy.

See here for more information about this year’s General Practice Awards and the gala dinner and ceremony, which will be at the Novotel London West on Friday 9 December.

Last year, Viral Doshi, lead pharmacist for Hillingdon Public Health, received the Pharmacist of the Year Award for improving access to services in his area through innovation, including tackling vaccine hesitance and implementing an evidence-based weight management scheme.