A recently conducted pilot exercise in the UK has identified that a pharmacist-led telephone triage pilot at a GP surgery in London offers the opportunity to reduce waiting times for GP access and also to decrease the number of same-day GP appointments. The practice originally employed two GPs to triage walk-in patients, but the replacement of one GP with a clinical pharmacist resulted in 34 hours of GP time being freed up in one week. Hiring the pharmacist also allowed clinical staff to triage patients over telephone first, and to suggest alternate services if seeing a GP was not necessary. In addition, the clinical pharmacist had roles in managing repeat prescribing  duties, medication reviews and long-term condition reviews. The 50% reduction in same-day GP appointments seen in this pilot suggests that pharmacist-led telephone triage could be of great benefit in the GP setting. It is also possible that other clinical benefits could be realised through increased input from pharmacists in medication guidance. The original article, published in the Pharmaceutical Journal, can be viewed here

Contributed by Australian Medication Safety Services Associate – Isabella Singh