Just what does one do?
What is a Clinical Pharmacist?
As a Clinical Pharmacist I may be a little different to the pharmacist that you will be used to seeing on your local high street. I still have all the same training, but have developed extra skills and undergone further training to enable me to help you manage your medicines and health better. Working as a Clinical Pharmacist covering a group of practices is something new and it will be interesting to see how the role develops.
When will you see me?
You may be referred to see me by a nurse, or GP – or you may see me first. We call this triage. I am able to write prescriptions to treat the conditions in which I have specialised. I am a specialist in minor ailments, so would be able to see you for things like coughs, colds, diarrhoea, ear ache, chicken pox, skin conditions or minor infections. I can signpost you to the right over the counter medicine to purchase, or – if the condition requires it, I can write a prescription, or refer you onward to a GP.
During these times of Social Distancing and Isolation I am going to initially have to work quite differently and so currently it is not clear when I will be able to start seeing patients face to face.
Long term conditions
As a Clinical Pharmacist I can help you to manage your long term conditions too. If you have a condition such as asthma, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis or high blood pressure I can discuss your medicines and make sure they are working for you. I can take time to go through things that you may have forgotten over time, like how to use your inhaler well, or getting the best from your blood glucose monitor, talk about dose timings, side effects and what you can expect. All those things that you were thinking that you didn’t want to bother your doctor with, or you forgot to ask in your usual appointment.
Organising your prescription queries
Together with the surgery team, I’ll monitor requests for repeat prescriptions, checking you’ve had the right blood tests done, helping to sync up your medicines – and as I have a community pharmacy background, I’ll be able to help with all those niggly queries that can make your prescriptions tricky. I dealt with these things on the front line in pharmacy for many years – so I’ve seen most things before!
Although I won’t be giving you your medicines, I’ll have a line of communication into your local pharmacy, helping you to sort out availability issues and prescription problems.
Reviewing your medicines
If you have been taking medicines for a long time, you may see a clinical pharmacist periodically. We can review your medicines together, carry out health and blood pressure checks, and have time to talk together about the things that matter to you about your health and medicines. If we have any concerns we can’t resolve – we’ll pass those to your doctor.
After a stay in hospital
If your medicines have been started, or changed, in hospital, I might talk to you to explain these changes, and make sure you understand how your new medicines will work for you. I’ll be helping ensure that the information that comes from the hospital, gets transferred to your GP records properly, and that your new prescriptions are ready to go in the community – when you need them.