A Day in the Life of a Clinical Pharmacist
You may have heard about our Clinical Pharmacist, Hazel Smith, so what does a clinical Pharmacist do?
Hazel has but together an article explaining what she does and how she is helping the practice.
Medicines are the single biggest intervention for the prevention and treatment of ill health, with around 1,900 medicines dispensed every minute, and costs in excess of £9.2 billion in 2016, they are the second biggest expense for the NHS behind staff salaries.
Considering this, along with the training pharmacists undertake to become ‘medicines experts’, the role of the clinical pharmacist in this practice focusses on our area of expertise: medicines! It covers a wide range of approaches by which I can support the GPs and clinical team, the dispensary team and the wider practice team.
Undertaking clinical medication reviews is where pharmacists can offer real benefit in improving long-term patient outcomes. Evidence does show that only 50% of people with long term conditions take their medication as it was prescribed, and poor adherence to medication regimes has been linked to significant deterioration in the long term effectiveness of the medicines.
I conduct clinical medicine reviews with patients both face to face and by telephone. This enables us to free up GP and Nurse Practitioner appointments. The main drive though is to help patients to get the most from their medicines, to understand them better, and to be able to answer any specific questions about them. I can also remove any barriers that might stop patients from following the treatments. At the same time I can also undertake some basic clinical examinations and monitor whether the treatment is the best that it can be, or if any changes can be made to get even better results from the medicines, and support patients to manage their conditions themselves.
Medicines Optimisation is another important area of my work, where we focus on the quality, safety and efficiency of the practice’s prescribing, both through reviews of our processes and drug choices. We are constantly looking at how we can improve the safety and efficient running of the prescription systems. One area which is well documented to increase the risks for patients is the transition of care setting. Hence I work with the practice medicines manager to answer medication and prescribing queries that come in to the practice from both patients and other healthcare staff such as hospital doctors, district nurses, community pharmacies and also requests for advice about medicines from our own clinical team. This allows us to ensure that and adjustments to therapies are applied quickly and safely and any follow up dose changes or blood tests are arranged.