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Guild takes heart from new collaborative model in UK

MEDIA RELEASE

4 August 2011

Guild takes heart from new collaborative model in UK

A new direction in cooperation between pharmacists and doctors in the United Kingdom is a possible model for New Zealand, says the Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand.

Guild Chief Executive, Annabel Young, says the trend in the United Kingdom is for successive policy changes that have moved the pharmacist's role from one of mainly dispensing medicines towards being a healthcare provider who advises patients on their medicines.

"The evolving role of a pharmacist is towards a healthcare professional who also advises patients on how to maintain good health and lifestyle, as well as delivering new services like medicines review. Our funders are all facing the same constraints."

Ms Young referred to a recent joint statement by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) on how community pharmacists and GPs can work together to improve patient care.

The RPS/RCGP joint statement recommends a culture change between GPs, pharmacists and the public to allow a collaborative partnership that can deliver greater benefits in terms of patient health and cost.

Ms Young says the evolving model in the United Kingdom is of great interest to the Guild's members.

"Community pharmacists in New Zealand have deep and detailed knowledge of medicines and would welcome a broader role in patient healthcare. It would also help alleviate some of the pressure points in our primary healthcare system.

"The winter flu period is a good example. Community pharmacists have the necessary skills and contact with the public to be able to deliver flu injections, thus taking some of the workload off doctors' surgeries."

Ms Young says one of the key points in the statement is the aim of getting pharmacists working more closely with GPs and practice nurses to help improve the quality and outcome of patient management in a range of long term conditions.

The statement says that by working together more closely, general practices and pharmacists will be able to deliver better healthcare to vulnerable groups such as those in care homes or elderly patients who are taking a large number of medicines.

Another key feature of the statement is an undertaking for the better transfer and sharing of information between GPs and pharmacists to improve patient safety.

ENDS

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