top of page

The Key Differences between a PCN Pharmacist & a Practice-based Pharmacist

Updated: Sep 4


Pharmacist sat at a desk working with a clipboard

The vital role of pharmacists in primary care cannot be overstated, as they ensure patient safety and contribute to better health outcomes. Nevertheless, pharmacists' duties and tasks can differ significantly depending on their work setting. Drawing on insights from one of our recent podcasts, this article delves into the key distinctions between a Primary Care Network (PCN) pharmacist and a practice-based pharmacist.


What Sets Them Apart?


A PCN pharmacist serves multiple sites within the same network, necessitating rotation among various clinics to offer expertise and support. Working within a large team, a PCN pharmacist needs effective project management skills to organise their workload and independently advance projects. They can rely on the support of fellow pharmacists, senior pharmacists, and access to training sessions.


In contrast, a practice-based pharmacist operates within a single practice, managing medication needs for patients registered there. As part of a smaller team, they can develop closer relationships with colleagues and patients. Although they might be the only pharmacist at the practice and may not have structured support from senior pharmacists, they can rely on the regular GPs for guidance and support. Additionally, they may have greater autonomy over project selection and personal development with the approval of the management team.


Tasks and Responsibilities


The primary distinction between these roles lies in the tasks and responsibilities each pharmacist assumes. PCN pharmacists work towards achieving specific goals and targets, such as Directed Enhanced Service (DES) and Investment and Impact Fund (IIF) incentive schemes, which align with the PCN’s objectives.


Conversely, a practice-based pharmacist supports the smaller practice team, addressing their immediate needs. Their typical responsibilities include conducting general clinical medication reviews, chronic condition reviews, monitoring high-risk drugs, and handling daily medication queries from patients and the practice team.


In Summary


While there may be some overlap, the workload and focus of these roles differ. PCN pharmacists must cater to multiple practices and prioritise achieving PCN targets, while GP pharmacists concentrate on meeting their individual practice's needs. Recognising the differences between these roles can help you choose the right path for you into primary care based on your personality, skills, and the responsibilities each role entails. Although the tasks and workloads vary, both roles are crucial in providing high-quality, patient-centred clinical care.


To learn more, please follow the link below to listen to the full podcast episode.


Full Episode


Audio version of this article:


1,432 views0 comments
bottom of page