Working with NHS England to implement Pharmacists in Practices across the country

Practice Unbound working with NHS England to implement Pharmacists in Practices across the country

Pharmacists in Practice

We are pleased to announce that Practice Unbound has won the bid with NHS England to help implement Pharmacists in Practices across the country.

Following a successful pilot programme by NHS England, which resulted in 450 full-time equivalents pharmacists working in general practice, The General Practice Forward View committed over £100 million to support an extra 1,500 clinical pharmacists to work in general practice.

This is part of a wider expansion of the general practice workforce so that patients have better local access to a range of highly trained health professionals for their needs.

This means that GP surgeries in England – a patient population of more than 15 million – will have access to clinical pharmacists in patient-facing roles as part of the multidisciplinary team.

Clinical pharmacists in general practice have a positive impact on patients, providing clinical assessment and treatments, expert knowledge of medicines for long-term conditions, as well as lifestyle advice, and contributing to patient safety.

Easy implementation and blended learning

  • The e-Learning modules deliver clear, concise and interactive learning on introducing your practice to the role of clinical pharmacy and making the most out of your clinical pharmacist.
  • Our creatively designed video tutorials are designed for each clinical system.

Resources: Ensuring you have the right tools to set up and create the right foundation for implementation is vital. The Resources that we provide include:

  • Practice Unbound secure Portal
  • Data dashboard
  • Clinical system template

Implementation: Through the team of Transformation Coaches and Helpdesk, all Practices will receive proactive implementation support through the duration of their contract.

  • Workshops – facilitated by GPs, Transformation Leads and Coaches. The purpose of the workshops is to ensure everyone understands the transition ahead, the impact and agreed responsibilities and expectations.
  • The Transformation Coaches will proactively contact Practices and work in partnership to support the practice.

Bringing quality care to citizens

Sarah Bartholomew, our Director of Business Development said of the In Practice Pharmacist program:

“We are really excited to be the provider that supports General Practice to both effectively introduce and optimise Pharmacists into Primary Care Networks as part of NHSE’s In Practice Pharmacist Programme. We believe that Pharmacists are a key part of an expanding primary care team offering high quality care to citizens while helping to alleviate workload pressures on practices and allowing GPs to concentrate on the most complex patients.”

Want to learn about our Pharmacist programme in Scotland and Wales?

2018 saw the launch of Practice Unbound in Scotland

2018 saw the launch of Practice Unbound in Scotland

Healthier Scotland

Scotland’s new GP contract, introduced this year, aims to reduce GP workload by enabling some tasks currently carried out by GPs to be carried out by members of a wider primary care multi-disciplinary team. Introducing Workflow through Practice Unbound ties in closely with this objective, by freeing up GP time to focus on patient care

Our approach also fits closely with the work of the Health Improvement Scotland Practice Administrative Staff Collaborative which has identified document management as a key priority to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of primary care.

We have some attractive introductory offers, available to Health and Social Care Partnerships signing with us during 2018, to help Workflow spread quickly in Scotland. We are already working with a number of Scottish practices to implement Workflow.

For more information please contact us, or you can contact our Scotland team (based in Glasgow) directly and they will be happy to talk to you about what we can offer you:


Geraldine Mynors

Scotland Lead  – Practice Unbound

geraldine.mynors@nhs.net

Delivering workload transformation in primary care

Delivering workload transformation in primary care

This article was originally published by the Bevan Commission Opinion on the 3rd December 2018, and is written by Alison Powell, our Wales Development Lead.

Managing patient correspondence 

You’ve got mail. Lots of it. In fact, GP surgeries are awash with correspondence that needs to be read, actioned, coded and filed. This presents a huge workload challenge for Primary Care, especially as GPs traditionally deal with clinical correspondence themselves – alongside many other competing demands on their time.

Primary care as a sector is under huge strain, and the increasing pressure shows no sign of slowing. My organisation works with practices who are struggling to recruit and retain GPs and who have trialed a variety of measures to ensure their own sustainability. We also work with practices who have a stable team in place, and just want to work more effectively and enable a better work / life balance.

Upskilling practice staff

One of the core principles of prudent healthcare, pioneered by the Bevan Commission, is to “care for those with the greatest health need first, making most effective use of all skills and resources”. Our initiative is focused on using our skills and resources as effectively as possible.

We work with GP surgeries that have tried upskilling their staff in various ways – Practice Nurses to Nurse Practitioners, Phlebotomist to Healthcare Assistants – but found that although it helped a subset of their patients, it did not have a significant impact on workload. Instead, in reviewing their processes, many found that mounting paperwork was the main cause of fire-fighting.

Is dealing with correspondence the most useful way for GPs to spend their time? We don’t think so, and our social enterprise therefore aims to enable administrators and practice managers to safely take on this responsibility in a supported environment.

Establishing this initiative in GP practices of course takes time, effort and trust. It requires the sort of cultural sea-change that the Bevan Commission advocates and the NHS needs to bring about if we are to move beyond incremental improvements and into the realm of transformation.

GPs and Administrators have had to adjust their expectations of traditional workforce roles and processes, familiarise themselves with what for some is an entirely new way of working and trust each other to commit fully to this. This echoes a recent Bevan Commission publication which recommended that we look beyond traditional workforce roles and think about how we develop a flexible healthcare workforce fit for the future.

The benefits of the Workflow initiative are two-fold: to free up the time of GPs, who can now focus on treating patients and addressing the few remaining letters which require their specialist input; and to build the confidence of administrators who are developing new skills and feeling like they are making a real difference to the running of their practices.

A trained Workflow administrator can code and action up to 80% of clinical correspondence, and in an average sized practice of 7,000 can expect to release 8 hours of GP time a week. There are robust governance procedures and the quality of the patient record can be improved.

As a not-for-profit social enterprise, we reinvest all of our resources back into primary care development, and are always on the lookout for ideas that similarly have the potential to transform service delivery and patient experiences. With this in mind, we have watched the Bevan Commission’s Exemplar programme with interest, and were delighted to attend a networking session to hear first-hand about innovative initiatives in NHS Wales.

It is clear from this scheme, and our experience, that we can no longer cling onto old certainties, processes or roles if we are to truly transform the way we deliver primary care. Change is no longer optional: we must all work together to identify and implement tomorrow’s revolutionary ideas.

Choosing from 10 High Impact Actions

Choosing from the NHS 10 High Impact Actions

Time to care programme

The publication of the GP Forward View in April 2016, addressed the issue to releasing capacity in General Practice. This raised awareness for the Time to Care programme, to support Primary Care services as they implement change through the 10 High Impact Actions.

As we approach the second year of implementation, new guidance has been put forward by NHS England and this change has created a new tone of delivery for the action plan. Up until recently the inference of the 10 High Impact Actions has been evidence-based guidance for potential changes that could be implemented within General Practice.

As the requirement and appetite for change has increased, the inference has shifted to a more deliberate and purposeful action plan, directing practices to implement at least two of the action work streams.

With this revived focus for implementation, there is a requirement to assess what will create the greatest impact to the Practice staff and patients, with the resource that is already in place.

Productive Workflows is one of the High Impact Actions, aiming to free up time for Practice employees. By introducing new approaches to Practice processes, with the objective of reducing wasted time, queues and making straightforward follow-ups less reliant on GP consultations.

Document management and the flow of clinical correspondence through General Practice will differ from place to place. However, what remains consistent is the role of the GP. With the responsibility for the content sitting on their shoulders, there is a mix of opinion on whether they need to see all or a proportion of patient letters that come through the door.

The impact of this is long hours, a delay in the GP accessing current patient information and lack of consistency with coding onto the clinical system. However, by reviewing and implementing a training programme which supports Practice Administrators to manage and process the letters onto the clinical system, a positive change would be demonstrated.

No change in practice should be considered without ensuring that there is robust governance in place, which brings confidence and unity across the practice team. The redirection of clinical correspondence has a positive impact on time efficiencies and also helps to create an empowered workforce. A workforce that feels invested in and more informed to deliver a more effectual care service for patients, creating positive improvements to the capacity in general practice.

All of the High Impact Actions are driving positive change to deliver more pro-active care but also enable patients to utilise the network of primary care services. Change is not easy to initiate or follow through and see to completion, it takes a cohesive approach from all members of the Practice team. So identifying a High Impact Action that will create the biggest impact in your Practice is vital, yet tricky when there is such a broad scope.

Creating a more effective flow for correspondence that travels through the GP Practice, which reduces hand-offs, speeds up processing and has robust governance, would add value to all Practice stakeholders and would have links to some of the other High Impact Actions. So think about what will develop the skills of the team, positively affect patient experience or release time for the GP…? You may find Workflow holds one of your answers.