EXCLUSIVE Pharmacists ranked top as the most successful Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) role, a recent survey of GPs has found.

The survey, run in conjunction with our sister titles Healthcare Leader and Pulse PCN, asked 346 GPs which ARRS role they felt had been most successful in supporting patients and the practice.

Pharmacists were considered among the most successful roles by 71% of GPs who also held a role within their primary care network (PCN) and 63% of GPs who did not.

Pharmacy technicians also ranked within the top five most successful roles according to both groups of GPs.

The second most popular ARRS role was physiotherapists, regarded as most successful by 51% of GPs, followed by social prescribing link workers, selected by 40% of GPs.

In contrast, clinical associates in psychology, trainee clinical associates in psychology, peer support workers, advanced dietician practitioners, and therapists (non-mental health practitioners) were selected as most successful by just 1% of respondents.

'Great to be recognised' for 'behind the scenes' work

PCN pharmacist Melissa Dudgar said it was ‘great news’ to see PCN and practice pharmacists ‘being recognised by our peers’.

She noted that pharmacists work ‘to support GP practices in providing a high standard for their patients’.

The recognition was ‘especially important’ since a lot of the work pharmacists do ‘goes on behind the scenes’, she noted.

‘I hope these findings will be further considered by the government in terms of funding for PCN pharmacists. I also hope that this in turn enables pharmacists to take on enhanced remits and senior roles within GPs/PCNs,’ Ms Dudgar added.

Working together to provide holistic care

PCN pharmacist Hitesh Tara told The Pharmacist that the ARRS team ‘all work well together to provide holistic care for patients’.

‘Our GPs diagnose and we all work together to provide the best care in our own specialist areas.

‘The clinical pharmacists have a unique skill to manage chronic disease and medicines management,’ he said.

ARRS pharmacists can also notice areas where others within the practice team are best placed to support the patient, he added.

This could include social link workers, a doctor or health and wellbeing coaches.

‘I feel this model of working has benefited patients greatly, if the ARRS are utilised to their full potential,’ Mr Tara said.

Pharmacists are still the most popular ARRS role hired by PCNs. In April 2024, there were 5,308 full time equivalent (FTE) ARRS pharmacists working in PCNs.

The role therefore makes up nearly a quarter of the over 24,000 FTE ARRS staff working in PCNs in England.

The results are part of our wider survey of 1,700 healthcare professionals on the State of Primary Care.

The snapshot survey was run in conjunction with our sister titles Healthcare Leader and Pulse PCN. It ran from 29 April to 20 May 2024.

It also revealed that pharmacists across both community and general practice / PCN pharmacy are united in wanting support for community pharmacy to be a top priority for the next government.