Almost £16m investment in professional career development

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s (NHSE&I) Pharmacy Integration Programme will invest up to £15.9 million over the next four years in a boost to pharmacy professional career development.

NHSE&I and Health Education England (HEE) have announced that a range of training and development opportunities will be made available to enhance the skills of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. This aims to enable the expansion of frontline pharmacy staff in primary care to help meet the needs of patients and local communities in the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape.

This is part of wider work to reform pharmacist education and map career pathways for pharmacy professionals.

The five-year Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) set a vision for the sector that would not only utilise the existing expertise of pharmacy teams but also require the adoption of new skills. Workforce education and development is therefore essential and, as part of the CPCF arrangements for 2021/22, a further programme of education and training for pharmacy professionals was planned.

The investment will support:

  • The development of a formal portfolio recognition process to identify the existing skills, training and experience gained by pharmacists working in primary care;
  • Training in independent prescribing for pharmacists working in community pharmacy;
  • Increasing access to clinical training courses for pharmacy technicians;
  • Extending and expanding clinical examination skills training for community pharmacists; and
  • Increasing access to educational, prescribing, and clinical supervisors.

Further information on the Pharmacy Integration Programme

Commenting on the announcement, Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services at PSNC, said:

“This announcement confirms the workforce development plans that were included in the arrangement for the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework in 2021/22 and demonstrates the NHS’s commitment to developing the pharmacy workforce. We welcome this investment, with the inclusion of independent prescribing training being of particular note. PSNC believes a key part of the future development of NHS community pharmacy services will rely upon pharmacists being able to prescribe so they can maximise the value of the care they can provide to patients.

“This sustained investment in independent prescribing training will likewise be welcomed by many pharmacy contractors and community pharmacists, but they will also be painfully aware of the current workforce challenges the sector is experiencing, particularly in relation to the availability of pharmacists. That is an issue on which all the national community pharmacy bodies are focusing and are discussing with NHSE&I and DHSC.”

Richard Cattell, Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at NHSE&I, said:

“These changes will ensure that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are well positioned to be further integrated into wider healthcare delivery as part of multi-professional clinical teams in PCNs.

This structured postgraduate development demonstrates our commitment to ensuring existing registered pharmacy professionals have access to the same opportunities for further clinical training including independent prescribing qualifications. It properly acknowledges the clinical skills and vast experience of community pharmacists, providing them with a structured route to higher levels of practice.”

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