HUNDREDS of thousands of patients will be able to see a specially trained pharmacist at their doctor’s surgery.

NHS England is extending a scheme which supports the recruitment and education of clinical pharmacists across Sussex.

They will be able to help with routine medication and treatment, giving GPs more time to deal with other patients with more complex needs.

They can also provide extra help to manage patients’ long-term conditions such as high blood pressure and organise health checks.

Up to 80 practices, covering more than 790,000 people, will benefit from the programme.

About 30 practices in Brighton and Hove, Worthing, Shoreham, Lancing and Southwick have already have a pharmacist in place.

This is now being extended to cover more than 50 practices in various towns and villages.

They include Lewes, Newhaven, Newick, Peacehaven, Arun, Hailsham, Eastbourne and Heathfield.

Clinical pharmacist Hannah Syed works at Harbour Medical Practice in Eastbourne.

She said: “One of the best things about my role is that I can make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of patients.

“A good example is a frail, elderly patient who was identified as being at increased risk of suffering falls.

“Together with the patient, I had the time to review their medication and understand her needs.

“We agreed to stop the medication that could have impaired her awareness, potentially avoiding any falls which could lead to hospital admission.

“I can also save GPs valuable time by taking on a variety of medicines-related tasks and providing expert knowledge to the wider practice team.

“Patients have told me how much they appreciate the thorough medication reviews I offer and they value the extra time I can spend with them.

“This makes my job even more satisfying.”

Felicity Cox, director of commissioning in the south east for NHS England, said: “Having a clinical pharmacist in GP practices means GPs can focus their skills where they are most needed.

“This can include diagnosing and treating patients who need a lot more help with their problems.

“This helps GPs manage the demands on their time and ensures patients see the health professional who best suits their needs.”