RPS England chair Thorrun Govind has been calling on GPs and community pharmacists to work together for better patient care.
In an open letter to the pharmacy profession on Thursday (July 8), Govind wrote of the “huge benefits of collaboration between General Practice and community pharmacy” which could result in “the very best outcome for patients”.
“By working more closely together we can improve access to primary care by supporting patients who require advice and treatment for certain minor illness conditions in the pharmacy,” she said, adding: “We know how valued pharmacists are by their GP colleagues, because we have seen the benefits, heard their feedback, and witnessed the increasing number of posts for GP Pharmacists.”
Govind said the community pharmacist consultation service (CPCS) was a prime example of the kind of partnership that should be replicated across primary care, to encourage better collaboration.
“General Practice teams are electronically referring patients with suspected minor or self-limiting illnesses to the pharmacy for a pharmacist consultation closer to their home and with an emphasis on self-care. The service means that pharmacy can help create capacity in General Practice for around 7 in 10 of all patients referred and we have already seen how it helps develop and support maturing relationships between community pharmacist and GP practice teams,” she stressed.
Govind continued: “We share so many of the same objectives with General Practitioners and I know we will be stronger if we work together.”
She mentioned in the letter that primary care, however, isn’t just community pharmacy and general practice. “We have a whole host of skilled professionals working together to help patients stay well. We know that patients need to feel fully supported and confident that they are getting the right care by the right person and at the right time.”
She proposed a roundtable with RPS, RCGP and other royal colleges to discuss how they could work together even as the nation emerges from Covid.
“We need to better understand each other’s perspectives, hear each other speak and chart the best way forward to a post-Covid world.”