Both patients and doctors could benefit from greater pharmacist involvement within super clinics, a study suggests.

The study, which involved a series of interviews with super clinic staff, suggests there is a broad level of support among clinic staff for extending the pharmacist’s role in areas including home medicines reviews (HMRs).

The research suggests that “HMR recommendations are more likely to be implemented when a pharmacist is integrated into a practice”.

More fully integrating the pharmacist into a clinic, including the introduction of regular formalised case conferences and extending the HMR process beyond a “one-off” service, could improve communication on all levels and patient outcomes.

Whilst pharmacist auditing of prescribing and medication use was generally well supported by GPs, concerns were expressed at the idea of pharmacists adopting a prescribing role. Such concerns included the “need for GP review, overlapping roles with the GP, pharmacists’ limited knowledge of the patient’s history, and legislation.”

The report also suggests that additional funding (above and beyond dispensing and HMRs) would be required for pharmacists to expand their role within clinics and provide additional services.

“Currently, the clinic pharmacist is only funded for a single HMR, while follow-up visits (as many as six) are conducted by the pharmacist without remuneration, as are other services, including providing drug information (involving research and the printing of information), and attending case conferences. In addition, HMR funding has recently been capped at only 20 HMRs per pharmacist per month. Proposing a funding model which includes remuneration to pharmacists for these services acknowledges their value and importance in improving patients’ quality of life of, and would enable pharmacists to pursue additional roles.”

One such suggestion was having pharmacists as salaried employees within a clinic, similar to the way in which practice nurses are remunerated.

Read the full study:

Bajorek B, LeMay K, Gunn K, Armour C. The potential role for a pharmacist in a multidisciplinary general practitioner super clinic. AMJ 2015;8(2):52–63. http://dx.doi.org/10.4066/AMJ.2015.2278

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