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a pharmacist dispensary shelves imageJanuary 22 2018

Plans by the main NHS education organisation for England to expand training programmes for community pharmacy have been welcomed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Health Education England set out its draft workforce strategy, ‘Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future, A health and care workforce strategy for England to 2027’, in December. In it, it has announced that it is currently delivering the initial priorities of the Pharmacy Integration Fund.

“These priority actions will firstly deploy clinical pharmacists and pharmacy services in community and primary care including groups of general practices, care homes and urgent care settings such as NHS 111 and, secondly, create the environment and infrastructure to accelerate digital integration and medicines optimisation for patient-centred care,” said HEE.

“Over the coming period, the seven workforce initiatives outlined in the Pharmacy Integration Fund will be the priority for engaging and transforming the pharmacy workforce:

  • Independent Prescribing for Pharmacists;
  • Post-registration training for pharmacists;
  • Community Pharmacy Technician Training and Development Programme;
  • Care Home Training Pathway;
  • NHS111/Integrated Urgent Care Workforce Development Programme;
  • Clinical and professional leadership development;
  • Accuracy checking pharmacy technicians.

“Once this work is complete then the NHS will have transformed the current pharmacy workforce and therefore the pharmacy service. HEE is leading work to change how we educate and train the future workforce in parallel.”

The RPS has been involved with other partners in working with HEE to develop specifications for the seven new training programmes. “The programmes are part of the healthcare integration agenda set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View and aim to develop the clinical skills of pharmacists and technicians to enable greater integration into wider primary care as part of multi-disciplinary healthcare teams,” it said.

Sandra Gidley, Chair of RPS England, added: “RPS helped develop the programme specifications for these new courses to increase the skills of the pharmacy workforce. It’s very positive that NHS England has recognised that investment in the development of pharmacists is good value and supports improved patient care. We look forward to continuing to work with NHS England, HEE and the profession to ensure that pharmacists are valued for the positive impact they make on improving the health and wellbeing of the public.”

Links:
RPS announcement     
HEE announcement     
HEE’ Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future, A health and care workforce strategy for England to 2027’     

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