Pharmacists are good partners

Offering a pharmacist a partnership has paid off for a community surgery in rural North Devon.

Delegates at the Dispensing Doctors' Association conference in Bristol this month heard how four years ago Wallingbrook Health Centre offered a partnership position to a pharmacist. Dr Diana Wielink, one of five GP partners at the practice, said it initially had problems recruiting a pharmacist.

The practice sounded out Karen Acott, who was working at North Devon PCT as an adviser, but she was not eager to go back to working behind the counter. Ms Acott said: 'I made an off-the-cuff remark that I might consider it if they offered me a partnership and to my surprise they did.'

Giving away a share in the practice was a risk, but both agree that as a partner Ms Acott is more motivated than a salaried employee might be, and sufficiently empowered to drive change too. Her work in chronic pain management, and expertise in epilepsy and schizophrenia, have been much appreciated.

In October she was named pharmacy professional of the year at the PHARMAs for Pharmacy 2007 Awards for 'her work in the operation of a primary care team and ensuring patients are educated and compliant about their medicines'.

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