The Difference Between a Pharmacist and a GP

Many people know you see a pharmacist and a GP for different services. How much do you know about their differences, though? While both provide much-needed healthcare services to the public, their roles are actually quite different. This article will take you through the differences you need to know. 

What is a Pharmacist?

A pharmacist is a healthcare worker that provides patients with the correct medication. They are stationed in various settings, including community pharmacists, hospitals, and general practices.

On top of organising and providing medication, pharmacists can also provide healthcare advice to patients. For example, if a patient walks in with a chesty cough, the pharmacist may either recommend an over-the-counter medicine or suggest that they see their GP.

What is a GP?

A GP (general practitioner) is a doctor that works in medical practices to provide essential healthcare services. Their duties include prescribing medications, performing physical exams, treating common illnesses, and referring patients to specialist doctors.

The Main Differences Between a Pharmacist and a GP

If you are still trying to figure out what distinguishes a GP from a pharmacist, below are some of the most significant differences between the two roles.

The Amount They Earn

Pharmacists and GPs earn different salaries. GPs earn around £63k per year, whereas the average pharmacist salary sits somewhere between £42-45k per annum. As you can see, GPs tend to make a much higher salary than pharmacists.

Of course, how much a GP or pharmacist earns depends on experience and the type of role. Locum pharmacists, for example, might make a different wage than those who have a salaried job. With a good shift-management platform like Workflare, they might earn more than the average.

Where They Work

One of the biggest differences between a pharmacist and a GP is where they work. GPs work in community surgeries, whereas pharmacists work in community pharmacists. However, it’s not uncommon for general practices to have a pharmacy connected to it.

The Type of Care They Can Provide

GPs provide a range of healthcare services to their patients, such as physical examinations, blood tests, and writing prescriptions. Pharmacists don’t tend to perform these services; instead, they dispense medications and offer advice for common ailments. In some cases, they may take blood pressure or provide vaccinations.

The Amount of Training

It takes a very different amount of time to become a GP compared to becoming a pharmacist. Becoming a GP requires ten years of learning and training, while becoming a pharmacist takes five.

Prescribing vs Dispensing Medications

If a patient needs a prescription, the doctor will write it, and the pharmacists will dispense it – that’s the most significant difference. However, it should be noted that some hospital pharmacists can also prescribe medications.

Booking vs Walk-ins

To see a GP, patients must make an appointment beforehand. On the other hand, patients can see a pharmacist simply by walking into the pharmacy and asking for advice. Often, no pre-booking is necessary.

There are lots of differences between a pharmacist and a GP. Knowing the difference can help you decide which one you need to see. Or, if you’re an aspiring healthcare worker, knowing the difference might put you on the correct career path!