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The special relationship

After a rather civilised discussion with a GP, community pharmacist Babir Malik shares what the two professions would like to see from each other

The special relationship is not about Bush and Blair. It's about pharmacists and GPs. GPs are our *colleagues/friends/allies/enemies/nemesis (delete as appropriate).   I spoke to a doctor, @HamedKhanGP on Twitter and asked him what he wanted from pharmacists. Five minutes later he had his answers 1. Communication about patients with suspected compliance issues

2. Basic medicine reviews (like the MURS scheme you mentioned)  3. Your opinion about good OTC meds we can recommend to reduce prescription costs   4. Your opinion on what you think we could be doing better with regards to our prescribing   5. Likewise, what do you think we (GPs) should be doing differently to help you and our mutual patients?   I was impressed with his answers and below is my response to Hamed. 1. MURs: refer asthmatic patients to us. Their compliance is poor. Patients can't ever hear too much about inhalers and how to use them efficiently. We are not duplicating what the nurses do.  2. MURs: refer elderly people with polypharmacy to us. A lot do not understand the indications for their medication. 3. MURs: you get QOF points for our MURs 4. NMS: patients decide in the first few weeks of being prescribed a new medicine, whether or not they will carry on taking it. Let us help. 5. Visit: come and visit the pharmacy to gauge a better understanding of what we do and allow us to do the same.   6. Always ask the patient if they pay for their prescriptions.   7. OTC: certain products are cheaper than a prescription charge. These include small boxes of aspirin and ibuprofen. Please consider OTC licensing when recommending that patients buy OTC medicines eg co-codamol 8/500 is only licensed for 3 days use and hydrocortisone cream 1 per cent is not licensed for children under 10 or for use on the face. 8. Take care with pack sizes or medicines. Some OTC pack sizes are prescribed and this ends up being costly to you.

eg beclometasone nasal spray 180 dose costs £5.78 but the 200 dose pack costs £2.27. You save £3.51 just by prescribing a different pack size.  9. Minor ailments: find out if your pharmacy does a minor ailment scheme. People who do not pay for their prescriptions can get certain OTC medicines for free for certain conditions. There are referral criteria. Most common ones are head lice and fever in kids. This will free up your time for more serious cases. 10. Controlled drugs: don't be offended if we explain that a prescription has not been legally written. 11. Waste: lots of medicines get returned to us for safe disposal. It's frustrating to see the accumulation of medicines from patients

 12. Prescribe 28 days' supply or do repeat dispensing if patients are stable. If a patient pays, then issue 56 days.   13. Access: make it easier for us to contact you. Explain to the receptionist that we are not ringing to discuss last night's Eastenders episode.   14. Allow us to attend your practice meetings.   15. Let's work together for the good of the patients.

 Anybody have any other ideas?

Some more useful links:

 1. Guide to general practice by BMA

2. Guide to community pharmacy by BMA

What would you like to see from GPs?

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