One Wight Health, the Island's GP federation, has successfully bid for £566,000 funding from NHS England to provide Clinical Pharmacists support to GP surgeries across the Island.

Funding for the posts, secured with the help of the NHS Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group, is part of NHS England’s programme of work to ensure patients have better local access to a range of highly-trained health professionals for their needs.

Clinical Pharmacists are highly trained with expert knowledge of disease and medicines and will work as part of a multidisciplinary teams, to assist GP surgeries by helping to clinically review patients and help those with chronic long-term conditions manage multiple medication needs.

It is expected that the Clinical Pharmacists would work with one or two participating practices in their locality running face-to-face patient clinics/consultations, liaising with community pharmacists and with hospital pharmacists to support patients on their discharge from hospital, working with staff to support patients in residential care homes and also provide support to practice staff in relation to repeat prescriptions and prescription and medication enquiries.

Nick Puckett, Chief Officer of One Wight Health said: "We're delighted to be awarded this funding for these posts on the Island. Clinical Pharmacists have already played a huge role in helping those practices, where they have been operating on the Island, to improve access to healthcare professionals, reducing waiting times for patients and enabling GPs to focus their skills where they are most needed.

"This funding enables us to expand that opportunity to all practices across the Island providing those benefits to the wider population and creating new Island jobs in the process."

Caroline Allen, Deputy Head of Medicines Optimisation Isle of Wight CCG, said: "This is good news for patients and for GPs. The clinical pharmacists' role is pivotal in the general practice team to help patients get the best out of their medicines. They can provide extra help to patients who have to manage multiple medicines and help them to improve the quality of their life. It will also help us to ensure a joined-up approach is in place for post-hospital care.

"Around 27% of GP appointments can be dealt with by other highly qualified healthcare professionals including Clinical Pharmacists, so the creation of these new posts will also mean that people will be seen more quickly, and practices will be able to manage their workload more effectively and efficiently."

Joanna Smith, Healthwatch Isle of Wight Manager said: "I welcome the introduction of these new posts and hope that this will bring about improved access to healthcare for people on the Island." Advertisements for the new Clinical Pharmacists posts will be published later this month on NHS Jobs https://www.jobs.nhs.uk/ and Isle of Wight Jobs https://www.isleofwightjobs.com/ with the aim of having some clinical pharmacists in post by April 1, 2019. The nine posts will comprise an equivalent mix of part-time and full-time posts.