The new role of a diabetes consultant pharmacist has been created in a landmark move designed to improve care by harnessing resources.
Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust has appointed Philip Newland-Jones as a consultant pharmacist in diabetes and endocrinology.
The post has been seven years in the making with Mr Newland- Jones first joining the diabetes inpatient team for one day a week as part of a three-month proof-of-concept innovation in 2010.
Coming on the back of the first general pharmacist consultant in 2005, it is the first post within the area of diabetes and endocrinology. It also promises to be a “watershed” moment for the profession.
Speaking to The Diabetes Times at Diabetes UK’s Professional Conference, Mr Newland-Jones said: “This should be a platform for more specialist pharmacists in diabetes. There is a decline in nurse specialists, there is a decline in registrars but we have pharmacists that are already in hospitals that can develop into diabetes specialists. What patients want is to be looked after by someone who knows about diabetes.
“For me it’s a relief because it’s something that we have been working on for the last five years, we have put a lot of hard work into this.”
Diabetes lead consultant at the trust, Dr Mayank Patel had previously been working alone with a diabetes specialist nurse (DSN) looking after up to 150 inpatients with type 1 and 2 diabetes.
But then he successfully applied for the funding from the trust to develop a diabetes multi-disciplinary team, including Mr Newland-Jones, a dietician and the DSN. This led to an estimated annual saving of £200,000 through earlier discharges and reduced medical errors.
Mr Newland-Jones joined the inpatient team in 2012 as a full-time pharmacist working in diabetes and in 2015, working alongside Dr Patel, he started developing the consultant role, job specification and job plan.
The trust approved the move and, following a formal recruitment process, including an interview with external representatives on the panel, he was appointed on March 7.
The role means the burden of prescribing responsibility is shared with Dr Patel, while Mr Newland-Jones is also able to lead ward rounds and carry out patient reviews post discharge. It also includes research work with Mr Newland-Jones as a co-investigator.
He also leads two specialist clinics, a multi-morbidity clinic for complex patients as well as one for concentrated insulins, which gets referrals from across the patch.
The multi-disciplinary team has also grown with 4.2 full-time equivalent DSNs and two dietitians.
Mr Newland-Jones also teaches a module on an MSc diabetes course at the University of Southampton.
Dr Patel said: “It’s exciting to be the first trust to go down this route, it is a watershed moment for pharmacists in diabetes. We have had lots of interest from consultants at other trusts who are looking to do the same.”