Integrating Clinical Expertise in Community Pharmacy

6 min

Integrating Clinical Expertise in Community PharmacyClinical expertise plays a vital role in...

James Roberts

By James Roberts

Integrating Clinical Expertise in Community Pharmacy

Clinical expertise plays a vital role in community pharmacy. Clinical pharmacists are expected to possess a diverse skill set and extensive knowledge, enabling them to directly and effectively enhance patient care within the community setting.

This article will delve into the pivotal role of clinical expertise in community pharmacy, while also shedding light on other crucial aspects such as job descriptions, salary insights, and strategies for thriving in this lucrative field. Let’s dive right in!

What is Clinical Pharmacy?

Clinical pharmacy is a discipline of health science in which clinical pharmacists play a crucial role in patient care by optimizing medication therapy to promote patient wellness, health, and disease prevention. Clinical pharmacists are entrusted with specialized therapeutic knowledge of medicines, experience, and judgment to significantly contribute to ensuring optimal patient outcomes.

Clinical pharmacists are an integral part of the multi-disciplinary General Practice (GP) team. They offer consultation on medications, provide advice for patients on multiple medicines, manage long-term conditions, and treat patients directly. Their role is pivotal to enhancing the quality of care and ensuring patient safety. Having clinical pharmacists in GP practices means that GPs can better manage their time and focus their skills where they are most needed, namely, on diagnosing and treating patients. 

Roles and Responsibilities in Clinical Pharmacy

Clinical pharmacists fulfill the objectives of a clinical pharmacy and play a key role with their person-centered approach. Critical decision-making is one of the main responsibilities of a clinical pharmacist. Decisions that directly impact the recovery and well-being of a patient. These highly qualified experts in medicine, therefore, help with ongoing health problems and improve patient safety, outcomes, and value.

A successful pilot proved that clinical pharmacists in General Practice were proving to be highly beneficial with patients. There are currently over 1000 full-time equivalent clinical pharmacists working across the country through the NHS England Clinical Pharmacists in General Practice Programme since it started in 2015.

Here are some of the roles and responsibilities of clinical pharmacists:

  1. Review of patient medication chart:

A clinical pharmacist carefully reviews a patient’s medication chart to identify any potential risks associated with a patient’s medications and give clarity as to whether that information is legitimate. 

  1. Help in patient education:

A clinical pharmacist guides patients on how to properly handle and store their medications. A clinical pharmacist also provides education and training to other pharmacists as well as the medical and nursing staff.

  1. Help with patient compliance:

On being discharged from the hospital, patients usually continue with their medication. It is the clinical pharmacist who advises and guides the patient on the dosage form, time, and frequency of administration as well as other concurrent drug therapy, and makes sure that all instructions are understood properly.

  1. Adverse drug reaction monitoring:

As new drugs keep hitting the market, the role of clinical pharmacists becomes even more important as they are the ones who monitor these drugs for adverse drug reactions. This is particularly important when certain drugs exhibit side effects that occur either infrequently or only after a prolonged administration.

  1. Therapeutic drug monitoring:

Many hospitals lack a comprehensive ward pharmacy service. In such cases, prescriptions are frequently interpreted by nurses when they feel the dose is either unusual or if there is a problem. A clinical pharmacist steps in to safeguard the patient against errors in prescribing, optimum dosage, dosing frequency, dosage forms, as well as the times and routes of administration.

In short, it is the clinical pharmacist who gives guidance on the safe, effective, and economical use of medicines for individual patients, thereby contributing significantly to their successful recovery.

Navigating Clinical Pharmacy Positions and Salaries

In the UK, clinical pharmacy has expanded significantly, offering a variety of roles that involve direct patient care, medication management, and consultation across various healthcare settings. Here are some of the primary types of clinical pharmacy roles found in the UK:

  1. Hospital pharmacist

  2. Community pharmacist

  3. Primary Healthcare pharmacist

  4. Consultant pharmacist

  5. Academic and research pharmacist

  6. Industry pharmacist

  7. Regulatory pharmacist

Clinical Pharmacist Salaries in the UK

According to the popular job portal Indeed, the average base salary for a clinical pharmacist in the United Kingdom stands at £47K. However, this figure varies significantly depending on various factors. 

Experience plays a crucial role, with seasoned professionals often commanding higher salaries compared to those who are just starting their careers. Location also plays a significant role in determining salary levels. Additionally, specific job responsibilities within the field can influence salary ranges, with roles involving specialized skills or managerial responsibilities often commanding higher compensation. 

Understanding Community Pharmacy: Definition and Practice

Along with General Practice, optical services, and dentistry, community pharmacy is one of the four pillars of the primary care system in England. Although community pharmacy is primarily known to be a dispenser and retailer of medicines, its role also includes other NHS and publicly funded services.

Community pharmacies are a common fixture of many high streets and are also often available in supermarkets, making them highly accessible, often on a walk-in basis. Since these pharmacies also house community pharmacists, patients also receive advice and support around their medicines, for minor acute illnesses, or for ongoing long-term conditions. 

Community Pharmacy Practice

“As of the end of March 2019, there were more than 11,500 community pharmacies in England delivering services under contract for the NHS. Of these, about 40 percent were run by pharmacy contractors that operate five or fewer pharmacies (e.g., standalone independent pharmacies or small chains) and about 60 percent were run by contractors operating six or more pharmacies (for example, large corporate pharmacy chains).”

The community pharmacy contractual framework with the NHS (CPCF) includes three types of services:

  1. Essential services – These are mandatory services that community pharmacies must provide as part of their contract with the NHS and include the dispensing of medicines and medical appliances, the disposal of unwanted or spare medicines, advising patients on self-care, providing advice on healthy living and medicines support on being discharged from the hospital.

  1. Advanced services – These are optional services and are nationally set and specified. The advanced services include flu vaccination, the New Medicine Service, and the recently developed Community Pharmacist Consultation Service.

  1. Enhanced services – These are also optional services and include services such as anticoagulation services that used to be commissioned by primary care trusts. Since the abolition of primary care trusts, only NHS England can commission enhanced services.

Quad Recruitment UK: Your Gateway to a Rewarding Career!

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As we pick the right opportunities for you, you also connect with the right recruiters across the UK for jobs that are perfectly matched with your aspirations, caliber, and skills. With Quad Recruitment UK, you are bound to land that coveted job with the clinical pharmacy salary that you want. In short, Quad Recruitment UK is your trusted partner for success in a clinical pharmacy career. 

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