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Workforce Development - Pharmacists

For NHS professionals and employers looking for more information on Pharmacists.


Pharmacists play a significant role in primary care medicine management.

A pharmacist is an expert in medicines and their use. The majority of pharmacists practice in hospital pharmacy, community pharmacy or in primary care pharmacy, working to ensure that patients get the maximum benefit from their medicines. They advise medical and nursing staff on the selection and appropriate use of medicines. They provide information to patients on how to manage their medicines to ensure optimal treatment. Pharmacists are able to undertake additional training in order to allow them to prescribe medicines for specific conditions. Opportunities also exist for pharmacists to work in specialist fields such as the pharmaceutical industry, education and medical writing.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) leads the profession of pharmacy to improve the public’s health and wellbeing.

The RPS is the professional membership body for pharmacists and pharmacy in Great Britain and an internationally renowned publisher of medicines information. We advance the profession of pharmacy for public and patient benefit, to improve the health of the public and to secure the future of our members.

The RPS supports their members and customers to improve health outcomes for society. They deliver this through professional development and support; the provision of quality medicines information and advice. They are committed to improving patient care and safety through developing professional practice.

Primary Care Pharmacists Association    

The Primary Care Pharmacists Association (PCPA) was established in 1999 for the benefit of all pharmacists with an active interest in primary care pharmacy. It is the largest and longest standing independent organisation dedicated to supporting pharmacists working within primary care.

The PCPA works with key healthcare and pharmacy organisations to promote the role of primary care pharmacists in the UK. The PCPA is instrumental in:

• Gathering and sharing best primary care pharmacy practice
• Promoting the vital role played by primary care pharmacists in the UK 
• Provision of help and resources for the primary care pharmacy team 
• Provision of support, networking and events and continuing professional development for members in strategic, operational and practice roles

Future Pre-Registration Pharmacist Trainee Placements in GP Practices

Plans are in place to develop the initial career pathway for the pharmacy workforce into primary care. Health Education England currently has an accredited Pre-Registration Trainee Pharmacist Programme provided by the UEA School of Pharmacy with placements suitable for integration into the primary care setting.

All placements sites/training programmes must be accredited by the GPhC and the trainee must have an assigned Pre-reg Tutor who is responsible for 13-weekly progress reports and final declaration of competency (based on GPhC Performance Standards and Learning Outcomes).

Progress has been made by partnering a host Trust with a local GP Practice with the aim of designing a bespoke pre-registration trainee pharmacist programme that meets the needs of both the GPhC and GP Practice in preparation for the 17/18 cohort. Further work is underway to develop the model of support needed to meet the requirements of the HEE Quality Framework.

The Carter Review Update

The Carter Review published its final report and recommendations on the of February 2016 called 'Operational productivity and performance in English NHS acute hospitals: Unwarranted variations

This features the promotion of the development of primary care teams through the development of clinical pharmacist posts in general practice.  The NHSE Clinical Pharmacist in General Practice Pilot is one of the transformational programmes aligned with the Five Year Forward View policy, aimed with developing new roles in general practice. Pharmacists who have been recruited to the pilot will undertake a bespoke training package which will include an additional post registration qualification GPhC accredited non-medical prescribing course to become independent prescribers. Below you will find an update on this pilot and also a document referencing the HEI courses locally available.

For Pharmacists who are participants in the Pilot who need to undertake the non-medical prescribing course please complete the application form below and return to heee.primarycare@nhs.net for HEE approval. 

For an update on current pilots and programmes for Pharmacists view the related docments or visit our local site.