Clinical Pharmacists: The new front line

With recent news that the government is over halfway to delivering on its manifesto commitment of having 26,000 more primary care staff by March 2024, including clinical pharmacists, Cat Metcalfe, Head of Insights at CHASE, examines how industry can engage with them effectively. 

Clinical Pharmacists play a key role in treating patients with multiple conditions and medications in primary care. They can reduce the need for GP appointments by 30%.1 With the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) funding 70% of their salaries, the number of Clinical Pharmacists is exploding, with 7500 expected to work in Primary Care Networks by 2024.2 This workforce expansion is creating an increasingly important stakeholder group for pharma to engage.

So, what are the challenges for Clinical Pharmacists and how can pharma engage with them effectively?

The Clinical Pharmacist role

Clinical Pharmacists enable more patients to be seen and treated effectively and safely. Their responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Medication reviews, particularly in high-risk groups of people.
  • Review of repeat prescriptions, leading on evidence-based changes in prescribing.
  • Design and implementation of patient pathways.
  • Act as prescribing leads advising on medicines to be used in conjunction with guidelines.
  • Support for transfer of care e.g. reconciliation of medications post discharge from hospital.

Challenges for Clinical Pharmacists in diabetes

A challenge in diabetes is the number of new therapies available. “There are so many products and it’s such an exciting but fast-paced moving market”, comments one Lead Clinical Pharmacist interviewed for this article. “I need to make sure my team and I are up to date so we can have a meaningful conversation with patients at their medicines reviews or if something needs to be changed. I think newer pharmacists would struggle with starting new therapies and understanding what a model annual diabetes review for a patient looks like.”

How to engage effectively with Clinical Pharmacists

Peer-to-peer conversation can be particularly helpful for Clinical Pharmacists as they grow in their role. In response, CHASE has introduced Pharmacy Partnership Managers, qualified pharmacists with a promotional remit to engage Clinical Pharmacists.

Customer feedback on the new roles is extremely positive. “Pharmacists will almost always see me again,” reports one CHASE Pharmacy Partnership Manager. “I’m a healthcare professional first, so it’s always patients first, I think the pharmacists I engage with can see that. I’m not pushy and they’re open to seeing me again.”

The role can have an important influence on patient care too. “Highlighting patient need is a major benefit of our role. We are able to create urgency to review patients who, because of Covid-19 pressures, haven’t been reviewed during the last two years. Often pharmacists will refer to specialist nurses because they don’t feel confident in a therapy area. Speaking with me, as a fellow pharmacist, gives them a great level of understanding and confidence so more patients can have their needs addressed without intervention from another healthcare professional.”

New role to engage Clinical Pharmacists

CHASE’s Pharmacy Partnership Managers have a promotional remit to help Clinical Pharmacists understand specific products and how to use them appropriately.   

  • Qualified pharmacists outsourced by CHASE.
  • A promotional role to engage NHS Clinical Pharmacists.
  • Experience and empathy as pharmacists quickly build relationships and access.
  • Engagements are up to 1–2 hours long.
  • Repeat engagement is high.

Find out more about CHASE Pharmacist Partnership Managers.

To read the original from Pharmafield, please click here:



Andalo D. Number of clinical pharmacists expected to work in PCNs rises to 7,500 by 2023/2024. Pharm J 2019; doi: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207066