Janet Finch-Saunders, Conservative AM for Aberconwy, has been finding out how patients in the constituency are benefiting from the expertise of a pharmacist working at a local GP practice.
At a recent visit to the Penrhyn Bay Medical Centre in Llandudno, Ms Finch-Saunders heard about the services offered by the on-site clinical pharmacist who is part of the practice’s healthcare team. Ms Finch Saunders was told that patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and asthma, are able to benefit from seeing the pharmacist when they visit the surgery. Consultations with the pharmacist help patients to manage their chronic conditions and patients can benefit from regular reviews of their medicines and expert advice on getting the best from them.
Janet said: ““The visit was a real eye opener. Having worked on the Assembly’s Health and Social Services Committee inquiry into pharmacy services previously, I continue to be impressed by the range of services our pharmacists here in Wales can offer.
“It is essential that we fully recognise the skills pharmacists can bring to the table, and ensure that patients take advantage of the wealth of knowledge and support they can provide.
“We are fortunate to have some exceptionally well trained pharmacists here in Aberconwy, who are able to work alongside GPs, and ease pressure on surgeries restricted by budgetary pressures.
“The work of pharmacists remains as valuable as ever, if not more so, in the ever evolving and changing landscape of our health service, and they remain vital to so many across Wales and certainly within Aberconwy.”
By working closely together, GPs and the pharmacist are able to share important patient information and make decisions about prescribing which will benefit the patient. As a qualified prescriber, the pharmacist is also able to adjust medication and prescribe new medicines during a consultation, avoiding any delays for the patient and ensuring they are taking the most appropriate medicines for their health needs.
Ms Finch-Saunders also heard that the pharmacist is able to take these services to the homes of patients who have difficulties in getting to the GP surgery, such as the elderly and frail. This is very helpful as the medical centre has a high percentage of elderly patients and the pharmacist is able to work closely with the wider healthcare team in the community to address their healthcare needs.
Fiona Jones, the clinical pharmacist at the practice, spoke to Ms Finch-Saunders about the benefits that patients can get from a team of health professionals working together in one practice, and in the wider community. Commenting on the services provided, Fiona said “The model of care provided at Penhryn Bay Medical Centre ensures that patients can receive the advice and support they need from the right health professional at the right time. As a pharmacist, it is professionally rewarding to work closely with patients and GPs to ensure patients can get the best from their medicines”.
As a Board Member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales, Fiona also outlined to Ms Finch-Saunders the Society’s vision for pharmacy in Wales, which calls for patients to benefit from greater joint working by pharmacists and GPs right across Wales. She said “Our service in Penrhyn Bay demonstrates to other NHS services in Wales that with the right blend of skills and expert knowledge, together with access to patient records for the full range of health professionals, patients can benefit from high quality healthcare that is safe, effective and convenient”.
For further information please contact the Welsh Office of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, on 029 20 730310
Notes to Editor:
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is the professional body for pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales. The Welsh Office implements Society policy in Wales.