Utilising the role of the Pharmacy Technician to reduce primary care pressures

The AHSN NENC is supporting regional GP Practices to identify and optimise the treatment of people with disordered lipids. We know that lipid management and effective treatment can reduce the chance of cardiovascular events, but at a time when primary care is under huge pressures, how can we support you to meet your QOF targets?

To tell us more about this, we spoke to Tracy Marshall, Programme Manager and Pharmacy Technician, who advocates using Pharmacy Technicians and explains how using the workforce differently might relieve some of this pressure.

Why is there a need for GP practices to have a focus on lipid optimisation?

The NHS Long Term Plan highlights that the NHS can save significant numbers of lives by reducing the incidence of Cardiovascular Disease. In the North East and North Cumbria alone, there are 430,000 people living with CVD, causing 690 deaths a month.

We also know that CVD is preventable, and by identifying people with disordered lipids and effective treatment, we can give them the best chance of avoiding a cardiac event.

How can pharmacy technicians support and add capacity to lipid work?

In the North East and North Cumbria, Pharmacy Technicians are already playing a really important role in lipid management. Pharmacy Technicians have a dedicated skill set and knowledge base optimising patients medicines, and working in lipid optimisation builds on this underpinning knowledge.  They can run searches, triage and prioritise a patient list, make recommendations on treatment options (following all appropriate guidelines), while also considering other medications and conditions.

This provides a clinician with a detailed review of a patient’s current situation, their medical history, what medications they’re taking, and blood results. The clinician can then use this information to make an informed decision regarding the patient’s treatment options.

What are the benefits of utilising the wider workforce?

By working as part of a multidisciplinary team, this ensures staff are being utilised appropriately and to the best of their ability and potential.

The techs do the ‘spade work’ which frees up time for the pharmacist or GP who will then just need to review and prescribe, rather than do the initial investigation(s).

What would you recommend practices to do next?

I would encourage GP practices to think differently about how they use their current workforce and consider using Pharmacy Technicians to support lipid work in primary care.

The AHSN NENC has also created a process map for Pharmacy Technicians, and other healthcare professionals, that provides the tools and resources to identify, risk stratify and review patients requiring lipid optimisation. Download it here.

If you’d like to know more about how you can apply this work in your practice please contact Tracy at [email protected]

Pharmacy Technicians are key members of the pharmacy and multidisciplinary team, engaging with patients and liaising with other healthcare professionals in both primary and secondary care, to support safe and effective use of medicines.”-  The Association of Pharmacy Technicians