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Suggested Learning

Going for it. In Ealing

By Rob Darracott

There's a great job going in South Central Ealing in West London, where they're looking for a primary care network (PCN) community pharmacist. It's full time too. As some bloke on the telly says. Fab-u-lous.

Congratulations to Ealing GP Federation, Harbs Pharmacy on South Ealing Road, Remedy Pharmacy in Hanwell and the South Central Ealing PCN for identifying the need for such a role and having the conviction to invest in it. Fully funded for the life of the PCN, which means for a minimum of two years. That’s putting your money where your mouth is.

The postholder will “deliver structured medicines reviews, enhanced health in care homes and other PCN services” and “proactively optimise medication for those with complex polypharmacy”. They’ll be “embedded in and employed by” the community pharmacies. They will be working alongside and supported by a senior clinical pharmacist and the other pharmacists in the general practice team. That’s for starters.

The PCN is looking for a “driven, ambitious pharmacist”. Plenty of those around; lots of them will be looking for an opportunity that’s an innovation in itself, but one they can shape too. That’s the beauty of going first. The post-holder will “take responsibility” for stuff within the network, “provide clinical leadership”, “ensure practices integrate with community pharmacies to utilise skill mix, improve patient outcomes and access to healthcare”. There’s support for developing the role by becoming a non-medical prescriber. What’s not to like? 

The pandemic has demonstrated that rapid change is possible if the will is there (see also page 12). It’s refreshing to see collaboration across primary care to explore the art of the possible, particularly where that involves a number of organisations operating across professional groups – I counted at least nine. And it’s great to see a job description for a community pharmacist that is couched in the language of care and commitment to improving outcomes. No need for a debate about whether this is a ‘clinical pharmacist’, because in South Central Ealing, they’ve moved on. 

I’ll be following progress. It’s still a community pharmacy job, or at least a job in community pharmacy, but it promises to be very different. Certainly, the metrics on which its success will be measured, the prescribing role, playing a part in delivering the PCN’s directed enhanced services, are a long way from the margin and volume calculations of the national community pharmacy contract. 

I hope they’ve been mobbed with applications. The appointment on the Wirral 30 years ago of the first medicines management pharmacist in England paved the way for what is now an army of primary care pharmacists. Community pharmacy organisations fearful of change, take note. 

The advert says the job is “unique”. Let’s hope it’s not unique for long. The future is here, and it looks like it’s starting in Ealing. 




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