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 second entry under the spotlight from this year’s shortlist of seven is Core Prescribing Solutions Clacton PCN Pharmacy Team in North-East Essex.

By educating patients on their medicines and usage through active patient engagement, the Clacton PCN Pharmacy team has developed a culture of self-awareness which encourages patients in deprived areas to seek help and take ownership of their health needs.

An approachable and hardworking attitude, along with the flexibility to working within an above average sized PCN setting has resulted in many patients benefitting from the clinical pharmacy team’s services.

Entry highlights

The team comprises six clinical pharmacists and one clinical pharmacy technician, who have all consistently demonstrated high levels of efficient, holistic patient care. Their clinical input has resulted in interceptions of poor prescribing or under-par patient management, while diligent symptom reviews and subsequent monitoring have contributed to a cancer diagnosis for one patient and an atrial fibrillation diagnosis for another.

They have detected instances of acute courses of medicines being given for longer than intended, or where patients have continued receiving preventative medicines such as aspirin despite changes in guidance.

Their forward-thinking approach to carrying out clinical audits on patient populations requiring education and attention has seen them consolidate drug regimens and provide healthy lifestyle measures through high-level, structured medication reviews.

Elderly patients receiving high doses of certain medicines has been a particular priority within the PCN team and focus on this patient group has led to de-prescribing sleeping tablets and blood pressure medications, among others.

The team has considerably reduced the time it takes for patients to obtain healthcare advice and prescriptions, as well as allowing GPs more time to focus on more pressing patient concerns and patients with more complex healthcare needs. They have also contributed to saving practices money through changes in medication regimes and doses through audit work. On average, one FTE clinical pharmacist results in net savings of roughly 60-80 hours of GP time through internal audits.

One practice manager said the team was a ‘great asset’ to the practice and patients and would ‘highly recommend’ the business to any GP surgery or PCN to help reduce the workload of GPs and clinical staff.

What they said

Adeem Azhar, co-founder and director of business development and strategy at Core Prescribing Solutions, said: 'Being shortlisted for the award is an honour, privilege, and a testament to our team’s commitment to deliver clinical excellence for the communities we serve. Our Clinical Pharmacy team at Clacton PCN have worked tirelessly alongside the forward thinking and pragmatic PCN to design and deliver innovative working models to ultimately improve patient care. If our team were to win the award, it would be a monumental moment for us and would reiterate the excellent work our team has been conducting at scale and would strongly demonstrate the positive power collaborative working can have in primary care.'

Meet the first team on the short list, South Kerrier PCN, here.

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.

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.