Insight from Megan Blythe

29th November 2019

Time in general practice

16 years




Clinical Diploma, Supplementary and Independent Prescribing

Current Role

Senior Clinical Pharmacist with Sunderland GP Alliance Federation and Health Education England Clinical Pharmacist Ambassador for the North

  1. Best thing about being a pharmacist in GP practice: Contributing my expertise to a team approach of effective person centred care
  2.  Worst thing about being a pharmacist in GP practice: Drug supply issues!

My life before becoming a pharmacist in GP Practice

  • Having spent one year in secondary care I moved into primary care to focus on the longer term support of people with their medicines.
  • I was a pre-registration tutor working a day across community pharmacy and primary care.
  • My first role in primary care was supporting practices in medicines optimisation, which developed into a patient facing role following gaining my prescribing qualification to host primary care based dyspepsia clinics, and also developing an out of hospital model to support appropriate referrals to specialists.
  • I also spent 9 years running anti-coagulation clinics and developing a competency based pharmacist prescribing model, supporting pharmacists to use their prescribing safely.

GP Practice experience

  • My role as a GP practice based pharmacist, seeing patients, prescribing and supporting the day to day running of a practice started about 10 years ago as a trial to support a practice with a high turnover of GP’s and locums.
  • The role become invaluable to the practice and patients and was rolled out across other sites and eventually to other practices keen to use pharmacist’s skills.
  • I had the opportunity to lead a team through the national Clinical Pharmacists in General Practice pilot, and currently work alongside partner organisations to develop a fit for purpose model of pharmacy for Sunderland.
  • My Health Education England (HEE) role involves speaking to primary care network Clinical Directors and pharmacists about pharmacy in general practice and ensuring pharmacists are appropriately supported.

Key examples of personal challenges of practice pharmacy – what were they and how did you overcome them? (including skills, knowledge and training)

Challenge #1

Social care issues impacting on a person’s mental and physical health.


Multi-professional and cross organisational working with the person at the centre. Training from GP’s and colleagues in understanding social care support and how to access it. An attitude of dealing as much as possible with the whole person and sign posting appropriately. If you don’t know, find out and get back to someone when you say you will.

Challenge #2

General practice is general and not black and white – why you would not prescribe something is sometimes as important as why you would.


Think broadly and of the whole person. Listen to what’s important to them. Prescribing and making clinical decisions within your boundaries of practice and continuing to challenge this with the help of multi-professional colleagues to keep patients safe.

Key Messages

Keep the person at the centre, not being afraid to say you don’t know but will find out. Building relationships are key.

What are your current priorities / key areas of focus?

I am focusing on a pharmacy model beyond that trialed and tested through the general practice pharmacy pilot. Thinking about pharmacists of the future and supporting education, training and career development for pharmacy teams.

How have you demonstrated impact and value in your practice?

When a GP takes his holiday at the same time as you!

Implementing and developing a robust quality improvement audit and review process, keeping our patients as safe as we can, de-prescribing and proactively prescribing as appropriate – each medicine has an impact.

What development do I need / am I undertaking at this point in my journey?

I’m at a cross road in my journey, as am sure many others are, between management and continuing in a clinical capacity. I really enjoy making a difference to peoples’ lives and championing the huge difference pharmacists embedded in general practice make and the importance of building relationships with other pharmacists and health and social care roles.

I am passionate about developing and supporting education and training and on-going clinical supervision for pharmacists to shape and adapt the profession for the changing roles of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

What skills or competencies do you feel are important to have in your role as a practice pharmacist?

Think broadly and not only focusing on medicines or health. Listen and the ability to communicate well with colleagues of all professions and roles and with patients their carers and families. Know your limitations and put a plan in place to build your skill set up safely to continue competence.

What has been your perception of the i2i Network?

It is very refreshing to attend training specifically for pharmacists led by pharmacy experts in their field with the i2i resources to implement what you’ve learnt and make a difference to a person.

I wish someone had told me………

That one day pharmacists would be seen as core to delivering general practice.