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A Clinical Pharmacist's Career Progression in a GP Surgery

Updated: Jun 10, 2020


There has never been a more exciting time to be a Pharmacist. Working in GP surgeries allows Pharmacists to utilise and further advance on their clinical skills, run clinics, diagnose, prescribe and make a direct impact on patient care which results in better job satisfaction as well as better pay.

Below is a typical pathway that a Pharmacist, wishing to transition into a GP surgery and progress in this field, would take.


Usually, a Pharmacist would become confident and experienced at each of the stages before transitioning to the next step.


Someone who can use the GP system efficiently and can help out with day to day running of the GP surgery, usually dealing with patients as a part of the front-line team. Pharmacy students and pre-reg pharmacists normally start here.


Job role of the Pharmacist at this level would include:

  • Prescription Tasks - These are the tasks that come as a result of patients requesting medication that either requires re-authorisation or have perhaps not been added to the repeat template

  • Medication Reviews - This role includes reviewing patient notes, prescription request history, interactions and also making sure that all the monitoring requirements are met for the medication and the condition that is being treated. More on this further on.

  • Letter Processing - GP surgeries receive hundreds of letters every week that will be read through, processed and filed. Some of which will be discharge letters or letters from the consultants informing us of the changes in a patient's medication. Pharmacists then update patient records and occasionally will need to speak to the patient.

  • Audits - GP software is brilliant at running audits, especially when it comes to anything related to medicines. Clinical Pharmacists are best placed at running medication audits.

  • Medicines Management - Depending where the surgery is located and falls under certain Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the workload will vary and the CCG will provide you with plenty of guidance and support in optimising the treatment that patients do receive. You can find ample information by visiting your local CCG website in the medicines management section.

Typically, a Clinical Pharmacist would spend 6-12 months in this non-patient facing role before going on to the next level.


This role includes seeing patients for Long-term Condition reviews in addition to doing all the work that a Level-2 Clinical Pharmacist would undertake. Long term condition reviews include annual Asthma, COPD, Diabetes, Hypertension etc.

This role requires an in depth knowledge of the disease progression, assessment and its management.

Pharmacists normally spend around a year at this level running patient facing clinics mentioned above. The Independent Prescribing qualification is normally completed during this period, if not done already.


At this level the Clinical Pharmacist will experience the most growth and becomes a Pharmacist who can safely run Minor Illness clinics on top of all Level-2 and 3 responsibilities.

This is an experienced and well-rounded Independent Prescriber that has undertaken Physical Assessment training, as well as Minor Illnesses training and gained experience under the supervision of a GP. The Pharmacist would be able to treat acute conditions such as UTI, URTI, etc. and be able to identify red flags to differentiate from more serious conditions such as pyelonephritis, pulmonary embolism, heart failure to name a few.

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