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Pre-reg pharmacists to gain GP experience in pilot project

Pre-reg students in Kent, Surrey and Sussex will have the opportunity to train in a GP surgery as part of a pilot launching next month

Pre-registration students in the south of England will have the opportunity to spend one day a week in a GP surgery, C+D has learned.

The pilot project, which will launch in April, would enable pre-reg students to learn how pharmacists and GPs interacted, its lead told C+D on Monday (March 2). 

The project, a collaboration between Health Education England's training board for Kent, Surrey and Sussex, LPCs and the Association of Independent Multiples, is part of a wider programme to create Community Education Providers Networks (CEPNs) - groups focused on training a range of primary care professionals.

CEPN pharmacy project director Atif Shamim told C+D that the pilot had been inspired by NHS England's call for greater collaboration between healthcare professions in its Five Year Forward View document last year.“There needed to be more interprofessional working and there wasn’t too much of that going on,” he said.

“It was felt the best way was going down the trainee route, where pharmacists and GPs were at a fairly early stage of their careers and may find it easier to come out of their placements and work together," Mr Shamim said. This would form the basis of a "long-term working relationship”,  he explained.

The pilot will initially involve six practices taking on pre-reg students from six pharmacies in April, and Mr Shamim said he hoped it would be expanded to include up to 25 pharmacies in August. It involved placing pre-reg students in GP surgeries for one day a week for eight weeks, where they would learn about medicines optimisation and gain a "deep understanding" of how GP surgeries operated, he said. 

Mr Shamim also expected to begin placing GP trainees into pharmacies next year, he said. 

GP involvement

Mr Shamim said it had been “very easy” to get GPs involved in the project.

“You would think GPs might be closed to having pharmacists in their practices but I found the opposite. There are lots of forward-thinking GPs who see the value in how pharmacists could help them,” he said.

Mr Shamim said he was waiting for the General Pharmaceutical Council to approve a curriculum for the training course and he felt "really positive" that the pilot scheme would become a permanent training fixture.

What are the benefits of training pre-reg pharmacists in GP surgeries?

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