A TEAM of medical professionals has been located at GP surgeries across Trafford to try to reduce the strain on doctors.

The three-year project is being funded jointly between NHS England, Trafford Primary Health and NHS Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group’s new models of primary care project, which initially involves six pharmacists.

The aim of their introduction is to improve access to healthcare in the community, and help patients get the most out of their medication through enhancing the quality and efficiency of prescribing.

The pharmacists joined practices in February, with a further four expected to start in the summer.

Before starting work with participating practices, each pharmacist underwent a four-week clinical induction with the CCG’s medicines optimisation team and participating GP practices.

Ongoing clinical training will be supported by the Centre for Pharmacy Post-Graduate Education, based at the University of Manchester, including eventually being able to prescribe medication to patients, freeing up vital GP workloads.

The clinical pharmacists will work in general practice as part of the primary care multi-disciplinary team.

As part of their multifaceted role, they will use their expert knowledge of medicines in specific disease areas to clinically assess and treat patients.

They will be able to prescribe medicines or be in training to do so and will take responsibility for patients with some acute illness, chronic diseases and to carry out clinical medication reviews to proactively help patients with many complex medications, especially the elderly, people in care homes and those with co-morbidities, or many other illnesses.

One of the pharmacists, Haseeb Khan, said: “We are really excited to be pioneering the role for pharmacists in GP practice in Trafford."

Rebecca Demaine, acting director of commissioning at NHS Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to support GP practices and bring more and better quality and access to healthcare into the community as an early part of the new models of primary care.”