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Pharmacists included in Conservative pledge to boost GP staff by 6,000

The party has said it will recruit 6,000 more GP "support staff", including pharmacists
The party has said it will recruit 6,000 more GP "support staff", including pharmacists

The Conservative party has pledged to recruit 6,000 more pharmacists, nurses and physiotherapists to work in GP surgeries by 2025 if it wins the general election.

The party will put “record funding into our GP surgeries” and recruit 6,000 more GPs and 6,000 additional pharmacists, nurses and physiotherapists over the next five years, in a bid to create 50 million more GP appointments every year, health secretary Matt Hancock announced on Saturday (November 9).

The Conservative party told C+D this afternoon that it has not yet set out the exact breakdown of roles among the 6,000 support staff. When asked by C+D how these roles will be funded, the party said: “Our plans are backed by £2.5 billion of new money”.

There are currently 307 million appointments per year in GP surgeries, the party claimed. “This announcement represents over a 15% uplift in appointment numbers.”

The Conservatives have also pledged to “make sure patients can benefit from digital booking and consultations offered by phone, Skype or online if they want them”, in an effort to “ensure patients can speak to the right person at the right time”.

Mr Hancock said GPs are “the best way of helping us all stay out of hospital”, and the extra appointments will “help everyone get the care they need”.

In January, NHS England opened up “thousands of opportunities” for “clinical” pharmacists to work in GP surgeries, as part of the five-year GP funding contract.

However, multiples and pharmacy bodies have blamed the push to recruit more GP pharmacists for recruitment challenges in community pharmacy.

What do you make of the Conservative party's recruitment pledge?

Industry Pharmacist, Head/Senior Manager

I'm so glad I got out of Community after ten years of service. I took a £20k hit to start in industry three years ago. I'm now on double what I was last paid in community. I only work 35 hours a week, including two days at home. The stress in community was not worth it.

These GP practice pharm (I'm an IP btw) will also be a problem in the future. It's about supply and demand. Employment of more of these so called clinical pharmacists will cause a massive reduction in wages.

Alexander The Great, Community pharmacist

I'm voting labour, at least cons cant cut us anymore regardless of the state the country will be in lol

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

These so called clinical pharmacists spend  all day changing scripts from 28 to 56 days or vice versa. The GPs are still as stressed as ever. The whole system is flawed. It worked pretty well when only Drs prescribed and pharmacists dispensed!

Leon The Apothecary, Student

More like Dispensers dispense. Pharmacists QA.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Could someone please tell these mis-informed Politicians, thet, number of heads @ GP practice does not mean more appointments. All it means is more people trying to do the same Admin job and leaving the actual patient facing problems to the GPs. In the past year or 2 since the rush of so called Clinical Pharmacists in to the GP Surgery, all I have seen/ heard is more chaos. All they are doing is going through each and every prescription request and dial the patient to cut down on the medicines (while working only 1 or 2 days at the said surgery) and then not doing the actual prescriptions. This leading to both Pharmacies and the Patients calling back and talking to the regular Rx clerk, who has no clue or simply refers it back the Pharmacist who will come back in a week!!!

If you want to see a difference then give these extra staff some meaningful clinical work that is overburdening the GPs (not just paperwork)

Richard Binns, Primary care pharmacist


If you want to see a difference then give these extra staff some meaningful clinical work that is overburdening the GPs (not just paperwork​

out of interest, can you offer details of what you would suggest? 


Leon The Apothecary, Student

Utilizing PPs, they cost a fraction of a GP and can do pretty much most of the work a GP would traditionally do.

Richard Binns, Primary care pharmacist

when you say a PP can do most of the work a GP could do I assume you mean management of chronic illness rather than dealing with acute presnetations of illness and making diagnosis? again Im not disagreeing with anyone, I'm just interested what specific roles you would suggest, and how the management of repeat prescriptions should be handled (I think giving this work to receptionists with no clinical insight is not the solution in terms of patient safety, and as youve stated this is not appropriate work for GPs to be doing, perhaps Pharmacy Techs?)

I also think when comparing what a pharmacist can do in comparison to a GP its worth considering the training pathway a Dr has to undertake to become a GP which is a minimum of 10 years training and the level of professional indemnity they require to undertake that role, £10k + per annum compared to £100s which pharmacists require. would you happily take this level of risk and feel that you would be protected adequately the day you miss a red flag symptom and the patients family want to sue you.

I think there is a huge role for pharmacists in primary care as part of multi-disciplinary teams, but a four year degree covering pharmacology, biochemistry etc dosent equip us to start practicing medicine and seeing patients with the professional autonomy a GP would safetly. However drugs are by a mile the most common medical intervention used by a GP (although pharmacology isnt always the solution to every problem a patient will present with), this indicates a massive amount of influence a qualified pharmacist can have on the work load in General Practice. The question is how do pharmacists/nurses/ANPs effectively add value to a service without a dilution of care, I think in a most instances there is a lot of trial and error going on in finding a way.



I am genuinley intersted what peoples opinions are regarding this






Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

It must be election season. All those future warehouse centres of dispensing must need remote supervision then.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I honestly thing remote supervision of a hub is fine in the grand scheme of things. Automatically dispensed medications go through 6-8 more checks than one traditionally dispensed.

A LOCUM, Community pharmacist

when is the penny going to drop with these decision makers ? , we don't need any more egotistical pseudo doctors hiding behind receptionists telling everyone they're so so  busy and the 5 week appointment waiting list , the general public need clinical pharmacists in community pharmacy where's  there no appointment wait whatsoever!

Leon The Apothecary, Student

A little bit disingenuous there, although I do agree community pharmacy is a massively underutilised resource as long as it is implemented effectively, which is rarely the case.

Dave MacRae, Community pharmacist

More GP appointments = More Prescriptions being issued.

More Prescriptions Dispensed by an ever decreasing number of Community Pharmacists = DANGER !!

Matt Hancock will need to address this as a matter of urgency.





Leon The Apothecary, Student

Pharmacy is not a clinical problem, but a logistical one.

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Not sure that will ever work it's way up to the top of his list of priorities. 

Bob Dunkley, Locum pharmacist

What happened to all those pharmacists that every university you can name were churning out just a couple of years ago? 

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Given that most of them will be of above average intelligence one must assume they have decided not to practice pharmacy. Not a difficult decision when you can earn more money elsewhere with less stress and responsibility.

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

This means nothing to the majority of pharmacists.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

It's actually quite worrying how disengaged I find the average pharmacist in their own profession. Unsurprising, but worrying.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

Well, I suppose it will help give employment to those made redundant by the constant squeeze on pharmacy funding


N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

More redundancies of Prescription clerk/ receptionists!!!

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