GP Dr Julian Spinks writes

One of my hats is chairman of the local GP federation and, as a result, I have been leading a bid for NHS England funding for practice-based pharmacists. We already have a couple of local practices that have chosen to employ pharmacists and the feedback from them is overwhelmingly positive. Add to that an area which has difficulty recruiting both GPs and practice nurses, so need as much help as we can get, and it was a no-brainer; we had to apply.

Anyone who has been involved in a bid like this will tell you that the process is long, complex, frustrating and, towards the end, demoralising as yet another 40 page form arrives with a 1 week deadline. Despite this we kept positive and looked at using other links to strengthen our bid. Eventually we had the CCG on our side, a relationship with our local community education provider network and, through them, links to the local school of pharmacy.

Eventually an email arrived and was so brief I was convinced we had failed. A closer look showed the opposite was true and the corks were popping.

The hard work is still to come. The pharmacists need to be recruited, the systems of supervision and monitoring established, key performance indicators need to be clarified and approved and the mountain of bureaucracy associated with the NHS climbed. Despite this I am excited at the prospect of using the skills of pharmacists to improve patient care.

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