The PCN community pharmacist role is fully funded through the PCN Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) ans has been confimed as an "appropriate" use of funding by NHS England and Improvement, Graham Stretch, clinical director of Brentworth PCN in west London, told C+D last week (June 9).
Mr Stretch told C+D he believes the role could be a good fit for other PCNs across the country.
“I think it is a transferrable model”, Mr Stretch said. “I'm often asked by both GPs and community pharmacists how we can work together. This is one way."
“We see our first appointment [of the role] very much as a pilot and will work with academics to ensure it is properly evaluated,” Mr Stretch said.
He added that the new role has already generated interest from other PCN clinical directors “nationally”.
The PCN community pharmacist will be jointly employed for as long as the PCN is in operation – expected to be a minimum of two years – by two Ealing pharmacies, according to a job advert for the role seen by C+D.
They will carry out structured medication reviews (SMRs) and the enhanced health in care homes specification in the PCN contract “from partner community pharmacies with all the advantages of accessibility and extended hours,” Mr Stretch told C+D last week (June 12).
As part of the role, the pharmacist will undertake SMRs “at the pharmacies rather than in surgeries” across the PCN, Mr Stretch said. They will have remote access to the patient’s notes, which will offer patients the option of having their SMRs done in their pharmacy.
They will also carry out care home medication reviews and work with care home staff to “improve safety of medicines ordering, storage, recording administration and disposal”, according to the job description.
They will also take responsibility “for areas of chronic disease management within the network” and facilitating communications between the PCN GP practices and community pharmacies “to help support the repeat prescription system, deal with medication queries, and medicines reconciliation on transfer of care and systems for safer prescribing”, the job description said.
As stipulated in the 2020 GP contract, PCNs will be reimbursed the full annual salaries for “clinical” pharmacists and pharmacy technicians under the ARRS.
Mr Stretch developed the role with Dr Pat Barbour, South Central Ealing PCN clinical director, South Central Ealing PCN senior pharmacist Mitesh Shah, pharmacists Ali and Mo Harb from Harbs Pharmacy and and Kash Ismail from Remedy Pharmacy in Ealing.
The role also had input from Ealing LPC PCN lead Sachin Mehta and the CEO of a Middlesex group of LPCs Michael Levitan.