Patients in the New Forest will benefit from extra pharmacists being employed in GP surgeries to help improve the medication they receive.
A new medicines optimisation service, which is a term the NHS uses to describe the process of ensuring patients are getting the most out of the medication they receive, is launching in seven GP practices (Arnewood, Barton, Chawton House, Lyndhurst, New Forest Medical Group, New Milton and Wistaria and Milford surgery).
Pharmacists have been employed by NHS West Hampshire CCG and will be working to improve repeat prescribing, resolve queries about medicines and provide medication reviews.
They are working in the GP practices teams and will have a particular focus on frail and elderly patients, particularly around reviewing medicines before and after discharges from hospitals and in care homes. The New Forest has a larger than average number of people aged over 65 compared to the national average, which means this is an important issue for the area.
The benefits of this new service include:
- Better use of prescriptions for patients
- Freeing up more time for GPs and nurses to spend with patients
- More professional, clinical input into our GP practices, closer to patients
- Closer working between the GP practice and local hospitals, pharmacies and care homes
These specialised pharmacists will also be reviewing patients on high risk medication and may be able to visit house-bound patients in their own home when appropriate.
The new service, which is part of a bigger project with Better Local Care, has gone live in seven practices throughout October and is being run in collaboration with the GP practices.
Dr Emma Harris, Clinical Director for Medicines Optimisation at West Hampshire CCG, said, "This extra support for GP practices in the New Forest area will make a difference to patients who use medication, because it means we can make sure patients are using the best medicine possible for their condition, at the right time and in the right way. By employing extra pharmacists to practices, the CCG is helping free up more time for GPs to see more patients throughout the day.
“Pharmacists go through a minimum of five years of training and use their extensive knowledge to give advice about the huge number of medications which exist today.
“Across west Hampshire we’re seeing a move towards more and more services being made available through GP practices. This is good news because we know how much patients value their local GPs and how much it means to have services as close to home as possible.”