My proudest NHS moment

04 Jul 2018

"Patients are often surprised when they find out that I can prescribe and that they don’t always have to wait to see a GP - surprised and often very relieved."

“I’ve had patients come to me in quite a lot of pain and discomfort and I can often see them, there and then, without the need for an appointment.

Technically there are only three drugs in the BNF that I cannot prescribe but the reality is I only prescribe in my areas of competence for acute uncomplicated conditions. It’s like an extension of the minor ailment service so it’s for things like impetigo, gout, UTIs, ear infections, eczema and dermatitis.

I had to do six months’ training, alongside work, which was funded by the CCG just as the prescribing budget itself is. The CCG examined the health profile in Barrow in Furness and the difficulty in recruiting GPs and funded me in a bid to improve access to prescribers.

It works, we get quite a lot of referrals from surgeries and other pharmacies as well as by word of mouth. Patients still have to be registered with a local GP so I can access their records on the shared care viewer, which is more detailed than a summary care record.

It means we can help share more of the burden on the NHS system and take pressure off GPs and A&E but it is also often far more convenient for the patients themselves.”

Paul Blake, Pharmacist in community centre on Walney Island in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria