Clinical Pharmacists have become a staple of GP practices’ workforce in recent years.

As Clinical Pharmacists, our advanced training and expertise provide patients and GP practices with access to specialist knowledge, as part of an in-depth, holistic service.

What we do

Clinical Pharmacists have become increasingly commonplace in GP surgeries in the last 5 years.

In 2015, nearly 500 Clinical Pharmacists were introduced into general practice, with a further aim of having 2,000 in place by 2020/21.

The move was part of a wider expansion of the GP surgery workforce, giving patients better local access to experts to help meet their changing health needs.

The approach allows for a more holistic, personalised service which can make huge differences to the lives of an increasing number of people living with multiple long term conditions.

DDHF employs a team of Clinical Pharmacists to work with the 12 member practices of our Federation, and the 3 Primary Care Networks they also make up.


The Difference we make

Our training, qualifications and expert knowledge means we add a great deal of value to the patients we see and the practices we work in.

We regularly see patients in practice, or speak with them on the phone. As part of our medication reviews, we ask about how they are getting on with their various prescriptions, and use monitoring and the latest information to look at adjustments we can make to optimise their treatment.

With more and more people living with long term conditions, knowing how one medication can impact another is vital to effective management.

By taking the time to fully engage with patients about their conditions, we can offer advice and education that empowers them to take control of their own health.

Patients appreciate that. The length and availability of appointments means we can give an in-depth and holistic service, which is also satisfying for us professionally.

For practices, they have access to specialist knowledge that helps them improve their overall prescribing and reduce the chance of mistakes occurring. 

We also help to free up GP capacity by carrying out reviews with patients that Doctors may previously have done. So even for the patients we don’t see, we’re making it easier for them to get to see their GP.

For us as Pharmacists, we have the chance to put our experience and expertise into action as part of a multidisciplinary team, and make a real difference to people’s lives.


How we work

Durham Dales provide key services to three Primary Care Networks (PCNs), each one comprising our member practices. 

When PCNs were introduced in 2019, they brought funding for GP practices to recruit Clinical Pharmacists to work with their patients.

You can read more about how DDHF works with PCNs here.

This gave individual practices shared access to a specialist service that they wouldn’t have been able to financially support on their own.

DDHF recruits and develops Clinical Pharmacists centrally, and deploys us to each of the PCNS. Within each network, we then rotate through each of the practices.

On a daily basis we work with patients and colleagues across a broad area, which expands the impact we can have.

While we all work separately, we make every effort to be a strong team of Pharmacists here at DDHF. We regularly meet to check in, share expertise and best practice, and to problem solve as a group.

There are also opportunities to work with GP mentors to help expand our clinical skill sets, which boosts our own career prospects as it increases the services we are able to offer patients and practices.

DDHF itself is also committed to staff development, and actively encourages us to gain further training, such as becoming qualified prescribers.



Increase in Weekly Demand*
Patients Seen Every Week
Total Patients Seen**

* Average figures ‘18 compared to ‘19

** April ‘19 to December ‘19



Team Lead for Clinical Pharmacists, Thomas Watkinson

Clinical Pharmacist Thomas Watkinson has been with DDHF since September 2018. 


As well as working with patients and practices across the Durham Dales, he is also the Team Lead for all Clinical Pharmacists working with DDHF.

Here’s what a typical day looks like for him.