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Scotland funds extra 186 prescribing places after increased demand

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) will fund an additional 186 independent prescribing places, while CPS has also put aside funding to backfill cover while these pharmacists attend training, it has confirmed.

The additional 186 places for classes starting this year supplement the 244 places funded in 2021/22 and come “as a result of increased service demand”, NES announced today (May 6).

The Dundee Clinical Skills Collaborative will also provide additional consultation and clinical assessment skills to enhance the training, it added.

NES said increasing the number of independent prescribing pharmacists in Scotland will help the delivery of:

  • the NHS Pharmacy First Plus service in community pharmacy  
  • pharmacist-led clinics in primary care as part of the pharmacotherapy service
  • and inpatient and outpatient prescribing in secondary care. 


Waiting list and backfill cover


Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) told C+D that it was “inundated” with requests from individuals looking to undertake independent prescribing training last year, so a waiting list was created.

NES confirmed these places will go to those community, hospital and primary care pharmacists working in Scotland who were already on the 2021/22 waiting list.

CPS also said that it has set aside up to £1 million to support funding of the legacy workforce, which will also help support employers with backfill cover while pharmacists attend the training.


Read more: Scotland funds locum cover for 50 pharmacists to train as prescribers


“Such is the commitment from the community pharmacy network in Scotland to supporting independent prescribing and the development of the NHS Pharmacy Plus service, that pharmacy owners have allocated funding from their negotiated financial envelope to ensure all community-based pharmacists on the 2021/22 waiting list have the opportunity to undertake this qualification,” CPS CEO Harry McQuillan said.


“Boost for the profession”


Anne Watson, NES postgraduate pharmacy dean said the additional training places and the level of funding allocated “is a real boost for the profession”.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s chief pharmaceutical officer Alison Strath said: “As the NHS recovers from the pandemic, new models of care are emerging in both planned and unscheduled care, delivered by integrated multidisciplinary teams.


Read more: Alison Strath: Pharmacies could deliver systemic anti-cancer therapies


“These developments, alongside the advances in the initial education and training of pharmacists, offer a wonderful opportunity to ensure that pharmacists’ specialist knowledge in medicines is utilised to best effect for the health and wellbeing of the people of Scotland.”

Last month, Health Education England announced it is seeking to make more than 3,000 funded independent prescribing training places available for courses starting in September.

As part of the three-year pharmacy funding contract, the Welsh government has pledged to increase funding for independent prescribing services from £1.2 million to £20.2m per year by 2024.

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