Research concludes community pharmacist involvement in hypertension management does not increase GP workload

Published on: 20th July 2018 | Updated on: 15th March 2022

New research published in British Journal of General Practice examined referrals for patients with hypertension from community pharmacies to GPs as part of the New Medicine Service (NMS). Specifically, the study looks at what influences patient referrals within the first two weeks of starting an antihypertensive medicine – reportedly the first study of its kind.

The study looked at data from 131,419 patients, recorded using the original PharmOutcomes system and provided to the researchers by Community Pharmacy England.

The data shows that a total of 5,895 patients were referred back to a GP within the first two weeks, which makes up 4.5% of the total sample. Patients reporting side effects from their new medication were most likely to be referred to their GP followed by patients who expressed uncertainty regarding the efficacy of the medicine. The majority of patients, 95.5% of the total sample, were supported by the pharmacist with no referral to the GP required.

The article concludes that additional pharmacist involvement in the management of patients with hypertension does not increase GP workload. It also suggests that an extended prescribing role for community pharmacists could reduce referrals of routine cases to GPs as medicines management is within their professional capacity.

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