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NHSE launches funded community pharmacy prescribing supervisor training

NHS England (NHSE) has announced 1,000 places for would-be DPPs and education supervisors in community pharmacies under a new scheme.

The stock of designated prescribing practitioners (DPPs) and education supervisors in community pharmacies is set for a boost thanks to a new training initiative announced by NHSE today (August 30).


Under the new programme launching next month, DPP training is being offered to 500 pharmacy staff who wish to supervise community pharmacists training to become independent prescribers, it said.


Any “experienced independent prescriber” can apply for DPP training, after changes to regulations brought into effect in 2019, according to NHSE. 


Read more: HEE to fund 3,000 independent prescribing places in 2023/24


At the same time, 500 more pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will receive training in educational supervision, including as designated supervisors, for “a range” of other in-pharmacy training, it said.


Pre-registration has opened for the training programmes, which will launch in September 2023 and are fully funded by NHSE, according to ProPharmace - the pharmacy training provider that is running the programmes. 


Read more: HEE tenders £500k contract to train pharmacy prescribing supervisors


The new scheme is an initiative of NHSE’s Pharmacy Integration Programme (PIP) in support of the “growing demand for clinical services” in community pharmacies, it added.


In 2021, NHSE announced an investment of up to £15.9 million over four years, for initiatives such as “further clinical training” for pharmacy professionals, according to the PIP website.



Training the trainers



According to ProPharmace, the training will be “flexible” to suit working pharmacy professionals. Classes will be online-based and last 20-30 minutes but an in-person option is available for two modules.


Certificates will be awarded on completion of a programme, which will be assessed by “a choice of” reflective account, multisource feedback and peer observation of supervision skills, it said.


Read more: NHSE launches training scheme for 840 pharmacy technicians


England’s chief pharmaceutical officer David Webb said that the training programmes will support NHSE’s plans to “increase access” to DPP supervision in community pharmacy.


Mr Webb added that NHSE wants to “create a culture” in which independent prescribers advance to become DPPs or designated supervisors.


Liz Fidler, NHSE senior professional advisor on pharmacy technician practice, said that she was “delighted” that pharmacy technician education supervisors would “support and train” pre- and post-registration pharmacy technicians to deliver more clinical services. 


Read more: Workforce plan: Pharmacy school says class size increases need 'consideration'


The new training programme comes as NHSE announced earlier this month (August 17) that it will launch a “pathfinder programme” for independent prescribing in community pharmacy across all 42 integrated care boards (ICBs) in England.


The pilot programme will be run in “up to 210” community pharmacies across ICBs, testing “different prescribing models” with a view to creating a commissioning “framework” for independent prescribing in community pharmacies, it said.



DPP shortage?



It follows an NHSE announcement in March that the commissioner was “inviting bidders” for “supervisors' development for the pharmacy workforce”.


And in February, NHSE announced that it was offering 3,000 places on independent prescribing courses at a variety of universities across England.


A pharmacist must have the “support” of an identified DPP to be eligible for a place on these courses - but some have flagged that DPPs are in short supply.


Read more: Independent prescribing training: which costs are covered?


Speaking C+D last month, head of Reading University’s School of Pharmacy Professor Katrina Bicknell said that a “significant expansion in placement places” was needed for current students and that schools needed “enough” DPPs for foundation year trainees.


In November 2020, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) warned that there may be an “insufficient” number of DPPs to supervise pharmacy trainees during the new foundation training year.

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