Blog from Claire Sheikh, Locality Lead Pharmacist – My role as a pharmacist within a GP surgery
I have been qualified as a pharmacist for 19 years and have always worked as a hospital clinical pharmacist, but this year I decided to make the switch to primary care. I’ve completed a clinical diploma, MSc masters project and am an independent pharmacist prescriber actively prescribing within the hospital setting for the last 10 years. I decided that now seemed the right time to use my skills to help patients in the community with long term conditions receive the right medicines for them. I wanted to be able to review patients and follow them up, rather than just seeing them whilst they were acutely unwell and probably never seeing them again.
I started working for Living Well Partnership (1 day per week) and Southampton City CCG (3 days per week) in April 2019 just before the launch of PCNs. I have been running a medication review clinic at Botley surgery on a weekly basis. Patients are selected to be reviewed using the polypharmacy risk identifier tool (PRIT). Since starting this role I have reviewed approx. 130 patients and the response from patients has been largely positive with a number of patients commenting that no one has ever taken the time to explain and review all their medicines before. The wide range of conditions and patients has been a steep learning curve for me even with 10 years of prescribing experience. Having knowledge of blood tests, hospital teams and a network of hospital colleagues has certainly helped me embrace this role from the onset. Every week brings a new challenge and I have certainly learnt my own limitations and used the support of GP colleagues.
I am really excited about the role that clinical pharmacists can have within the GP surgery. The emergence of PCN pharmacists will help support this role, but the agenda for PCN pharmacists has been set at a national level. GP surgeries need to consider the skills a pharmacist could offer to their surgery and carefully consider the individual experience of pharmacists and therefore the level of clinical supervision required. I am looking forward to helping continue to improve medication safety for patients and working with colleagues to learn even more about primary care.
If you’d like to find out more, you can contact me by emailing Claire.Sheikh@nhs.net
Claire Sheikh, Locality Lead Pharmacist, Southampton City CCG and Clinical Pharmacist, Living Well Partnership