Pharmacy students work with GPs to meet challenges of 21st-century healthcare

Final-year Pharmacy students at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are being given the opportunity to work with medical students based at GP practices as part of a "timely and thought-provoking" scheme.

Dr Neena Lakhani and the Pharmacy Practice team have developed the programme in collaboration with the University of Leicester, training GP practices to encourage interprofessional working to improve patient care.

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Dr Neena Lakhani

The pilot scheme saw Pharmacy and Medical students meet a patient in their home, to undertake a clinical medicines review, discussing and presenting their findings and reporting their deliberations to the GP responsible for their care.

It was such a success that the programme is being expanded, with the ultimate ambition to offer the experience to all fourth years.

Dr Lakhani said: "It is fantastic, I am so happy. This is my PhD coming alive!

"GPs and pharmacists need to work together. Our scheme points to an inclusive approach and will help patients trust healthcare professionals because they speak to each other and appreciate what each other does in delivering safe, person-centred care.

"Sometimes processes and politics get in the way. This is breaking down barriers between healthcare professionals and offering students realistic, vital experience for what we are preparing them for."


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The scheme forms part of DMU's Interprofessional Education programme (IPE), offering future health and social care professionals the chance to learn from and about each other. Dr Lakhani has worked with the University of Leicester interprofessional lead Professor Elizabeth Anderson and Leicester GP Chris Sanders to develop the GP strand.

Dr Sanders said: "Teaching an interprofessional group of pharmacy and medical students on the topic of safe prescribing in the context of polypharmacy (use of four or more medicines by a patient) has been a rewarding and thought-provoking experience.

"This is timely, given the increasing prevalence of polypharmacy and multi-morbidity (co-occurring diseases) and the challenges this brings.

"This project also highlighted the benefits of workforce diversity and collaborative working in meeting these challenges and building effective healthcare teams for the 21st century."

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Students interview a GP

Professor Anderson said interprofessional learning is continuing to grow in significance.

She said: "Recently, clinical pharmacists have been employed in primary healthcare teams (PHCT) to work with GPs and practice nurses.

"We cannot assume because people are together in a building that truly new interprofessional integrated care will be delivered. This requires a commitment to ongoing learning, team-based reflection and a willingness to try new ways of working."

DMU student Moomtaz Ahmed said the experience has given her extra insight ahead of her pre-registration placement at a community pharmacy.

Moomtaz said: "We went to a patient's house to find out about her perspective on healthcare before having a group meeting with her GP. It was good to find out what the GP thinks and interesting to see how different his view was.

"It made me think about factors such as the patient's environment - she wasn't mobile so getting to the surgery wasn't easy - and how you need to adjust your language after gauging the patient's level of understanding."

Posted on Monday 20th February 2017

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