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Jeremy HuntJune 24 2015

Funding of £7.5 million has been announced to support community pharmacists with training and appropriate tools to contribute further to the primary care infrastructure.

The funding, which is part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund was announced in the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s speech last week in which he outlined a ‘new deal for general practice’. He described a scheme being piloted among 16 GP practices working with community pharmacies in Brighton.

Working together, they have created four ‘primary care clusters’, offering evening and weekend appointments with a GP or pharmacist and giving the pharmacist equal access to GP records.

In his speech, Mr Hunt quoted Dr Jonathan Serjeant, a GP and Co-director and founder of BICS, Brighton and Hove Integrated Care Service. Dr Serjeant had said the pilot had been a “fantastic opportunity for practices to learn to work together … reaching out into their community to work with pharmacists to design, and provide care for people” and “help us understand how to offer more for people in more locations with a different skill mix.”

Mr Hunt continued: “So as we roll out the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund to the whole country, I can today announce that £7.5 million of the primary care infrastructure fund for this year will be used to support community pharmacists with training and appropriate tools.”

His speech pointed out that the Government’s election pledges committed them to “the challenging objective of increasing the primary and community care workforce by at least 10,000, including an estimated 5,000 more doctors working in general practice, as well as more practice nurses, district nurses, physicians’ associates and pharmacists.”

He also referred to the £1 billion Primary Care Infrastructure Fund, spread over 4 years, which was announced last year. “Over 1,000 GP practices have now had bids provisionally approved for £190 million of investment in premises this year, backing exciting plans to expand services, house integrated services with community and pharmacy providers, and invest in digital innovation,” said Mr Hunt.

Responding to the speech, Dr Nav Chana, Chairman of the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC), welcomed the recognition of developing the primary care workforce and its importance to the future of the NHS. “This approach to workforce development in primary care must be focused on building teams with the right skills needed to address local population care needs as well as addressing shortages in GP numbers,” he said.

“We recognise the importance of improving access to primary care across seven days. However, we need to ensure we first get the system right ‘in hours’ and build on the evidence around patient access to avoid falling in the trap of supply induced demand. In addition there are more solutions to be explored for providing a seven-day service.”

Links:

DoH speech ‘New deal for general practice’    

NAPC response     

Practice News

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