A practice pharmacist has been elected as co-clinical director within his primary care network (PCN).
Chief pharmacist at Argyle Health Group Graham Stretch will take responsibility for the network’s workforce as joint clinical director alongside a GP from a practice within Brentworth PCN.
Under the new five-year GP contract, practices will be provided with extra funding to join PCNs – networks serving 30-50,000 patients – and employ additional staff, including 70% of a practice pharmacist’s wage.
All networks must appoint an accountable clinical director, who will be responsible for ensuring it delivers local services and providing strategic and clinical leadership.
Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will then have until 31 May to confirm registration requirements and approve variation to GMS, PMS and APMS contracts for all networks.
When the new GP contract was released in January, it was widely understood that networks would be led by a single GP in a clinical leadership role, according to information released by the BMA.
Mr Stretch, who was named Pharmacist of the Year at the General Practice Awards in 2017, announced on Monday (13 May) via Twitter that had been elected to the role.
Honoured to have been elected to serve 59,566 patients and 7 GP practices as Primary Care Network Clinical Director for Workforce in Brentworth PCN. Exciting times for #MDT working in #generalpractice #PCN #GPPharmacists @rpharms pic.twitter.com/ozWPkDQml7
— Graham Stretch (@GrahamStretch) May 14, 2019
He told The Pharmacist that the two-week long elections were ‘hard-fought’ between four candidates but that his experience within both community and practice-based pharmacy led him to step forward for the role.
Mr Stretch added: ‘One of the reasons I applied to the post was because I felt that I had experience in recruitment and mobilisation of pharmacists into general practice, across multiple practices.
‘It’s also an advantage for a network to have a pharmacist in a directorship role in terms of being able to work together with the wider pharmacy workforce in the community.’
Conversations have already begun with LPCs to ensure collaboration with community pharmacy, Mr Stretch told The Pharmacist.
He said: ‘It feels like a very exciting time when we’re going to increase the breadth and depth of our multidisciplinary working and collaboration at population level work.
‘That’s a new area for me and I’m excited about that.’
He added: ‘It’s obviously pleasing that they’ve trusted a pharmacist to take on the role.’
A trainee GP has also successfully been elected as clinical director of a primary care network, NHS England’s director of primary care Dr Nikita Kanani revealed via Twitter on Tuesday (14 May).
Dr Kanani said: ‘The key to successful primary care networks is the ability to work together as professionals, through trusting relationships, for the benefit of all our patients.
‘Seeing such a diverse group of individuals being appointed as clinical directors is exciting and gives me a huge amount of optimism for the future.’
According to NHS England’s GP contract, the network clinical director will work with member practices to ‘improve the quality and effectiveness of the network services’.
The contract states: ‘Primary care network clinical directors will provide strategic and clinical leadership to help support change across primary and community health services.’