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Pharmacy First has left GPs with a “reliable service” for their patients

Pharmacy First has helped build trust throughout the community. Mubin Bux explains how more patients are proactively using the service

We are working proactively to support the NHS long term plan by taking part in the new Pharmacy First program. We are now in the second month of the service and have already invested in a new team of highly qualified pharmacists dedicated to the Pharmacy First service who have received training both externally and in-house.

On first thoughts it seemed the scheme would increase pressure on staff and workloads. Questions arose as to whether the training provided was enough to support the referrals. However, we put extensive thought and preparation into launching the service throughout our branches.

Additional staff have been employed to ensure we have the capacity to provide this service correctly. Our pharmacists have incredibly positive first impressions. They feel it is a great way to provide accessible and convenient healthcare to patients, reassuring us we are heading in the correct direction.

Read more: How Pharmacy First allowed me to save a patient from waiting at A&E

From our experience so far as a healthcare provider, we feel the success of Pharmacy First relies on robust collaboration between community pharmacies and local surgeries. This is why we have dedicated staff creating these relationships, ensuring a comprehensive approach to patient care, where pharmacists and general practitioners work hand in hand.

This service has had an amazing impact on our community in such a short span of time. We have collated some feedback from the surgeries we are working with, alongside the patients we have tended to.

We received feedback from many of our local surgeries including Clayton Brook Surgery who stated: “The Pharmacy First Service has really helped alleviate the pressure when we do not have appointments available, we have had positive feedback from patients.”

We receive emails instantly providing the surgery with details of the consultation.” The consensus is that our local GP surgeries have found a reliable service for their patients to use. They are feeling less pressure and the 8am morning rush is better managed. GP’s can effectively manage their appointments for secondary care as receptionists are gaining more confidence with referring patients to the service. 

Read more: Xrayser: Ready, set, go! Will Pharmacy First win the race?

We have successfully delivered over 500 pharmacy first referrals, with positive feedback from patients. Our patients have been left extremely satisfied from the service and have said “I used this service for my son, a very friendly pharmacist and I received medication the very same day.”

Another patient said “After a consultation with the pharmacist, he said medication was not needed and instead provided me with advice. The service was far easier than waiting for a GP appointment.”

Initially, patients were reluctant to see a pharmacist as opposed to their local GP due to the service being unheard of. Many patients were concerned they would be directed back to their general practice, they were unaware pharmacists could prescribe medication such as antibiotics.

The bounce back rates started off at 25% but have successfully reduced to around 10% as the health care professionals are becoming more confident and familiar with the service. This is a result of collaboration between surgeries and pharmacists. Our pharmacists have built trust throughout the community and patients are more proactively using the service. We are extremely proud of the service we are providing throughout our community. 

Mubin Bux is the clinical operations officer at Pharmalogic Pharmacy, and PCN pharmacy lead for the Greater Preston area.

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