Outpatient services

Some clinical pharmacologists also provide specialist clinics, eg in cardiovascular risk management, hypertension, asthma, or epilepsy. Patients are sometimes referred with specific therapeutic, toxicological or other drug-related problems. Some clinical pharmacologists may also provide joint clinics with other specialties, eg with obstetricians, liaison with public health, poisons, chemical incidents and emergency planning. 

Time will be allocated for new patient referrals, including emergency referrals and follow-up after discharge from accident and emergency or a hospital ward. Consultants normally provide this service with the support of junior staff and must allow time for their supervision. It is reasonable to expect the assessment of a new patient to take approximately 30 minutes and follow-up patients approximately 15 minutes. Trainees require more time and should not work in isolation. A typical clinic might include 4–6 new patients and 10–15 follow-up patients. These sessions should include time for dictating clinic letters and administrative matters relating to the outpatient service. 

Demand for CPT outpatient services has increased significantly in the past decade. In England, the number of outpatient CPT appointments increased by 75% between 2003/4 and 2012/13 according to a British Pharmacological Society report. This is likely to underestimate the current provision by clinical pharmacologists as much activity is contributed to general medicine. This growing demand suggests that CPT consultant outpatient commitments are responding to patient need. (See the BPS report, Clinical Pharmacology: A dynamic medical specialty essential for UK healthcare, p 17, ‘Clinical pharmacologists develop interventions to improve health and wellbeing of local populations’.)


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