International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy (2018) 40:566–572
Pharmacists in general practice: a focus on drug‑related problems
· Cherie Lucas
· Walter Kmet
· Shalom I. Benrimoj
· Kylie Williams
Received: 26 October 2017 / Accepted: 7 March 2018 / Published online: 14 March 2018
© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
Background Team based care has been used internationally to improve the delivery of best practice primary health care.
The WentWest General Practice Pharmacist Project, involving the integration of pharmacists within general practice teams,
was commissioned to improve medication management of general practice patients. A particular focus of the project was
the performance of medication review to allow the detection and resolution of drug related problems (DRPs). Objective
The objectives of this 6-month study (October 2016–March 2017) were to: (1) identify and classify the DRPs detected as a
result of pharmacist activities within a general practice primary care setting. (2) compare the number of pharmacist recom-
mendations and GP acceptance rates as a result of pharmacist patient consultations across multiple general practice sites.
Setting 15 general practice primary care sites in Western Sydney NSW Australia. A multi-centre prospective observational
study conducted over a 6-month period from October 2016 to March 2017. Main outcome measure Drug-related problems
(DRPs). Results Six pharmacists recorded the results from 493 patient consultations. The pharmacists identiﬁed 1124 DRPs
and made 984 recommendations, of which 685 (70%) were recorded as accepted by the GP. Conclusion Pharmacists have a
valuable role to play in the detection and resolution of DRP as part of the general practice team.
Keywords Australia · Collaborative care · Drug-related problems · General practice pharmacist · Multidisciplinary care ·
Team based care
Impacts on practice
One of the roles of general practice pharmacists should
include identifying and resolving DRPs.
General practice patients particularly those with multiple
health conditions and/or medications are likely to beneﬁt
from a consultation with a pharmacist.
Inter-professional collaborative care interventions are
designed to improve patient care by combining the various
competencies and skills of multiple healthcare professionals
in an integrated cooperative way . These interventions
have been associated with an improvement in patient out-
comes and oﬀer an opportunity to utilise the skills of multi-
ple healthcare professionals with team based collaboration
One example of team-based primary care in Australia
involves the integration of pharmacists in the general prac-
tice setting. Previous research has demonstrated that activi-
ties performed by integrated pharmacists are associated
with signiﬁcant improvements in patient health outcomes
. Despite this evidence, pharmacists are not currently rou-
tinely included as integrated general practice team members
in Australia and there is no system level funding available to
support this innovative practice.
Including pharmacists as part of the general practice team
oﬀers multiple advantages related to being located onsite in
the general practice oﬃces. These include improved access
to comprehensive patient medical information and the ability
for pharmacists to develop close collaborative relationships
with prescribing General Practitioners (GPs) .
Pharmacists integrated in general practice teams can
perform a variety of roles. These include direct patient
care, population management activities and the provision
* Helen Benson
University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
WentWest, Western Sydney Primary Health Network,
Blacktown, NSW, Australia