Specialist clinical pharmacists are health professionals that train for many years to become specialists in a specific clinical area such as ophthalmology, geriatrics, oncology and more. The role is usually patient-facing, involving the attendance of consultant ward rounds, multidisciplinary meetings and the provision of support and training to nursing staff, pharmacy technicians and junior pharmacists.
Specialist clinical pharmacists are the point of contact for nursing and clinical staff regarding specialist medicines management issues and provide clinical pharmacy services in outpatient, pre-assessment, clinics, board rounds and ward rounds. They audit and monitor drug usage for their designated specialism, provide financial reports on expenditure and promote cost-effective prescribing. Specialist pharmacists often get the opportunity to rotate through a variety of clinical areas within their specialism, building experience and expertise.
- Developing clinical pharmacy services in a specialist area or directorate within a clinical pharmacy strategy
- Provide specialist advice, supervision, training and recommendations to healthcare staff, general practitioners and nursing staff about the use of medicines.
- Provides prescriptions screening, medication review, advice and counselling to patients and carers.
- Promote the safe, rational and cost-effective use of medicines by working closely with nursing, medical staff and health care managers.
- Liaise with specialist pharmaceutical professionals to interpret complex prescription requirements and ensure timely treatments and supportive care as required.
- Collaborate with clinical laboratories to monitor and interpret drug test results and provide advice as required.
- Accurately maintains detailed patient records and drug history from medical notes, GP letters and information supplied by patients or carers and providing specialist drug ordering at ward level to ensure good prescribing practice.
- Critical interpretation of clinical, financial and published data to facilitate recommendations and decisions on drug usage within the specialist area.
- Contributes to the planning, development and implementation of clinical pharmacy policy
To practise as a pharmacist, you need to be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). To register, you need to complete a five-year programme of integrated academic and clinical-based teaching.
Years 1-4 will be as a student and you will achieve a Master's degree in pharmacy (MPharm) at university, followed by a one-year paid work placement called a foundation training year. A list of universities across the UK is available at the bottom of this page.
University entry requirements are generally:
- three A-levels or equivalent in chemistry and a second science or maths. Typically offers range from AAB to BBB
- pharmacy degrees with a foundation year may have lower grade requirements
- GCSEs are considered alongside A-levels, with most schools of pharmacy expecting a minimum of five GCSEs including maths, English language and one science
- some universities accept vocational qualifications such as BTEC Level 3, National Extended Diploma in Applied Sciences or the Access to HE Diploma
Each university sets its own specific requirement so it's important to check university websites or the Studying healthcare website.