A group of pharmacy technicians at a south coast primary care network (PCN) have been building bridges between community pharmacy, general practice and secondary care settings.

Weymouth and Portland PCN has a population of around 78,000 people and 17 pharmacies.

And it is where ‘a fantastic, hard-working small team of pharmacy technicians’ have improved working relationships between different pharmacy settings, according to lead pharmacist Vanessa Sherwood.

The technicians lead the work, she explained, and have organised two large evening meetings for all the pharmacy staff, local GPs and some integrated care system (ICS) and secondary care representatives.

‘They also support individual practice meetings with the pharmacies closest to them and have set up a PCN community pharmacy WhatsApp group that is very useful for shortages and alternative requests,’ added Ms Sherwood.

‘Even better, the pharmacies that are engaged with this use it to easily organise these things amongst themselves sometimes.’

The pharmacy technicians triage the team email inbox, where pharmacies can also send alternative requests and any queries they may have about prescriptions, and try to hold regular meetings with the local pharmaceutical committee’s PCN reps as a way of addressing any issues.

‘It is usually quicker for the community pharmacies to contact us now than going via the practice where the request may bounce around before it finds the right person,’ said Ms Sherwood.

She added: ‘There are occasionally tensions, of course, but this is usually as a result of a small number of the multiples’ pharmacies who are not supported to engage in the processes we are all using across the PCN to make sure that patients get the medicines they need.’

This article is an adapted excerpt from our sister title Healthcare Leader's recent report into how integrated care boards are managing their relationships with community pharmacies, 10 months on from taking over responsibility for commissioning local services.

Read the full report: How pharmacy delegation is working in ICBs - Healthcare Leader (healthcareleadernews.com)