fforts are increasingly being made to implement pharmacists working in General Practice to support General Practitioners and alleviate pressure, mainly by providing pharmacotherapy services such as medication reviews and authorising prescribing requests (1). While there is wide interest in the contributions pharmacists can make within primary care, there is limited research exploring the competencies pharmacists need to safely and effectively provide care in this area.
Aim The aim of this project was to identify competencies required for pharmacists providing pharmacotherapy services in General Practice. Methods Modified eDelphi study (2), comprising a series of online questionnaires conducted between July 2019 and January 2020. Participants were pharmacists working in General Practice in Scotland.
The first questionnaire consisted of open-ended questions aimed at generating a list of competencies; competency categories and individual competency items relating to pharmacotherapy service tasks were identified based on the free text responses using content analysis. Subsequently, the second questionnaire aimed to establish consensus regarding the importance of the collected competencies, using a rating scale from 1 (“not important”) to 10 (“very important”); participants’ scores were aggregated using modes and medians, and the level of agreement among participants with regards to the importance of competencies was evaluated by calculating the percentage of scores between 8 and 10. Due to the novelty of this work and the resultant uncertainty surrounding participants' responses, no cut-off point for agreement was pre-specified. Results Overall, 10 pharmacists completed the first questionnaire, and 11 completed the second. Building on the findings from the first questionnaire, a framework of competencies necessary to provide pharmacotherapy services in General Practice was developed, comprising eight competency categories, with a total of 31 individual competency items: General Skills (e.g. ability to record patient information); IT Skills (e.g. ability to use GP computer system to update documentation); Legal & Professional Frameworks (e.g. understanding of clinical guidelines); Procedural Skills (e.g. ability to arrange follow-up); Multidisciplinary Team Communication Skills (e.g. ability to communicate with others within the GP practice); Consultation Skills (e.g. ability to take a complete history); Clinical Knowledge (e.g. knowledge related to conditions being treated); and Clinical Skills (e.g. ability to interpret clinical information). All eight competency categories were considered important across the pharmacotherapy service, with high agreement (between 71 and 85%) among participants. Conclusion Using a bottom-up, exploratory approach, this study confirmed that practicing within the General Practice setting requires a wide set of competencies, including – but not limited to – advanced clinical and consultation skills. Nevertheless, findings should be interpreted cautiously due to the limited sample size; although results have tentatively been validated using a paper-based version of the second online questionnaire during an in-person event with General Practice pharmacists, results might not be reflective of all pharmacists working in this setting.
- primary care prescribers
- pharmacy competencies