PRIMARY CARE: A mobile pharmacy team in Bath and North East Somerset that provides patients with access to a pharmacist’s expertise at their local GP has been praised by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

The initiative was created to reduce waiting times for GP appointments.

The team operates roughly one session a week for each of the 27 GP practices in the Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group region.

A report from the RPS highlights the work as an example of the way in which community pharmacy can work with GP practices to improve patient care.

The service has been operating in the region for the last six years. The RPS has called on other areas of the country to adopt the practice.

Dr Ian Orpen, clinical chair of the CCG and a local GP said: “GPs and their teams are estimated to make 370,000,000 patient consultations this year and the level of demand is getting higher due to an ageing population and more patients living with long term and complex conditions.

“But as demand has risen rapidly, the number of GPs in England has remained relatively stagnant.

“By contrast there is an oversupply of pharmacists who train as clinicians for five years – one year less than a doctor, one year more than a nurse – and they can step in to treat patients directly at the surgery.”