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Blog: A pharmacist by any other name


24 Mar 2017

Are you a pharmacist? Or are you a clinical pharmacist? Apparently, this is the subject of heated debate among pharmacists. And/or clinical pharmacists.

Now, there are two ways of looking at this. One being that it’s self-defeating to waste too much time and energy considering job title-inflation – it smacks of transparent self-aggrandisement and, besides, people usually end up defined by what they actually do rather than what they decide to call themselves.

And the other being that, as a GP, I feel your pain. Because we have also suffered the existential angst of wondering what’s in a name – specifically, that humble ‘GP’ no longer does the job justice.

The problem is, General Practitioner/Health Promoter/Chronic Disease Consultant/Secondary Care Default Community Houseman/Dogsbody to be Dumped On By All and Sundry just won’t fit on the name badge.

So we’ve dabbled with ‘Specialist in Primary Care’ and ‘Community General Physician’ until we’ve realised that life’s too short and nobody cares, at which point we’ve reverted to plain old General Practitioner.

Maybe the issue is more pressing and more relevant for you pharmacists, though. As you’re doubtless aware, one reason GPs can be a bit sniffy about your current role is because it requires you to reconcile health professionalism with a retail imperative – and we think the latter completely undermines the former.

So it’s highly significant that the ‘clinical’ label has been attached to the ‘Pharmacists in General Practice Pilot’, given that the job spec is about science rather than shop-keeping.

In which case, forget what I said earlier. Being a clinical pharmacist won’t be framed by what you do. It’ll be defined by what you don’t.


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