The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) is “looking forward” to working with the new government to place pharmacists in surgeries.
The RCGP and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society announced plans in March to employ an “army” of pharmacists in GP practices. RCGP chair Maureen Baker said yesterday (May 7) that this was one of the “different ways of working” that it wanted to explore with the government elected today (May 8).
Ms Baker said she was “encouraged” by a report that showed 85 per cent of the English population lived within a 20-minute walk of a GP surgery. This was 4 per cent less than the proportion who lived the same distance from a community pharmacy, said the report’s Durham University authors.
Community pharmacies were "consistently" more accessible than GP surgeries but this gap was "particularly" wide in the least deprived areas, said the authors of the report published in British Medical Journal today (May 8).
The report - which claimed to be the first to compare the accessibility of GP surgeries on foot compared to community pharmacies - had “potential implications for commissioning future healthcare services” from both professions, the authors said.
Eighty-one per cent of patients in the most affluent areas lived within a 20-minute walk from a GP surgery, rising to 98 per cent of people in the most deprived areas, the authors added.
Ms Baker said the report showed that deprived patients had “easier than average access to their GP and even easier access to a community pharmacy, where they can receive advice about medicines and how to manage minor ailments”.
In March, the RCGP reassured the sector that pharmacists employed in GP practices would remain "autonomous", in response to concerns from C+D readers that the plans could put GPs “in full control” of primary healthcare.