New Strategy For Future Development Of General Practice Pharmacy Sector

A new strategy for the future development of the General Practice Pharmacy sector has been published by the Department of Health following positive evaluation of its benefits.

'GPP NI 2030: A strategy for General Practice Pharmacy in Northern Ireland' sets out ambitious plans for the further development of the sector, building upon the success demonstrated by a full evaluation of the current General Practice Pharmacist (GPP) service.

Findings of the evaluation showed that the GPP service successfully integrated pharmacists into the clinical teams of every GP practice in Northern Ireland and delivered benefits including:

• optimising patient outcomes from medicines

• improving the efficient use of health service funding for medicines

• reducing unnecessary antibiotic prescribing

• helping with GP practice workload

The new GPP NI 2030 strategy describes how GPPs can contribute fully to optimising the health outcomes of our population as the clinical leads for medicines in the general practice team.

Health Minister, Robin Swann said: "The introduction of pharmacists into general practice teams has seen proven improvements in the safety, efficiency, effectiveness, and consistency of prescribing within GP practices and has helped to alleviate some of the pressures faced in primary care.
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"The potential for GPPs to further contribute to the transformation of Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland is clear. The recommendations in this strategy are ambitious, but we are committed to working with our partners and the general practice pharmacist workforce to progress implementation in the coming months and years."

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Professor Cathy Harrison said: "Across Northern Ireland general practice pharmacists are a vital part of how primary care services are delivered. Enhancing their capabilities and building capacity in the pharmacy workforce through delivery of this strategy will help to drive reform and innovation in frontline care. I have every confidence that general practice pharmacy will continue to improve outcomes for patients and help services to adapt to best meet the health needs of our population."

Glynis McMurtry, Professional Head of Pharmacy, GP Federations said: "General practice pharmacists have demonstrated the many ways they can use their skills and expertise to improve patient care whilst working within the general practice team. We look forward to continuing to bring these benefits to patients and other healthcare professionals by expanding and developing our current service with the implementation of the GPP strategy."

The publication 'GPP NI 2030: A strategy for General Practice Pharmacy in Northern Ireland' can be found on the Department of Health website.

A Summary of Main Findings from General Practice Pharmacist (GPP) Post Project Evaluation (PPE), January 2024 is available on the Department of Health website.

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