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Boots clinical role ‘fundamentally different’ to community pharmacists

Richard Bradley: Some pharmacists are doing roles that fundamentally didn’t exist five years ago
Richard Bradley: Some pharmacists are doing roles that fundamentally didn’t exist five years ago

Boots’ new “specialist practitioner” role is “fundamentally different” to being a community pharmacist, its pharmacy director has told C+D.

The multiple formally announced the role last month, to recognise pharmacists who deliver “enhanced clinical care” in the community. See more on the role below.

The role reflects that Boots pharmacists want “a pathway for clinical pharmacy and community pharmacy”, Richard Bradley told C+D in an exclusive interview the week after the announcement.

Mr Bradley contrasted the new role with the traditional career pathway he himself had taken in Boots, which “was pharmacist, to store manager, to position in leadership”.

“As the role of the pharmacist evolves, and pharmacists want a clinical career, it was right to say: 'How do we enable that career pathway and recognise that some of our people are now doing [roles that] fundamentally didn’t exist five years ago?'”

While being a community pharmacist is “itself a great role”, the specialist practitioner is “fundamentally different”, Mr Bradley stressed.

“We want some [pharmacists] to think: Actually, if I develop myself like this, I’ve got different go in my career.”

The specialist practitioner role came from “recognising the people that are doing it today”, as well as “clearly indicating to people how we see the role of the pharmacist evolving and the career opportunities we’ll see in the future”.

“It gets to the point where we’ve got some people doing this – and we can see a lot more doing this in future,” he added.

What is a Boots clinical specialist practitioner?

  • The role will be handed to pharmacists who “combine the highest level of clinical competence, with a drive to innovate at pharmacy level”, says Boots, which has given the example of pharmacists working at the “cutting edge of pharmacy”, from “pioneering research to having an outstanding clinical impact” in the community

  • Boots pharmacists who have been qualified for at least 18 months can apply for the role, and an independent prescribing qualification is preferred

  • Applicants must have identified a business sponsor – someone who works in an area specific to their work

  • Pharmacists will be in the role for a set period of time – determined by a newly created specialist practitioner review panel – and will be on an “enhanced salary scale”

  • Six Boots pharmacists have already been recruited to the role, and the multiple told C+D it plans to recruit 250 over the “next few years”.

Will you apply for the specialist practitioner role?

Meera Sharma, Primary care pharmacist

recognise pharmacists who deliver “enhanced clinical care” in the community.

I'm a bit puzzled by this statement - how do you enhance clinical care in the community without access to GP data or liaising with anyone?? Oh wait, this was the role they have introduced several times in previous years, just re-badged! Nice try!


Benie I, Locum pharmacist

I have to say this is super exciting for the future and I hate to pour cold water on the celebrations, however, if I may ask about the elephant tin the room. What is the expected salary for this ultra professional new role? I presume it's very good as they want the best of the best and Boots are world leading organisation. Just like in football, if you want the best you pay for it. I'll await your comments or the editor( he may have an idea).

Richard MacLeavy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

So all this talk from Richard Bradley with no detail on how the role is different in any way. My guess is that "Speacialist practioners" will be pharmacists who can correctly identify the patients that take the least amount of time do conduct an MUR on so that 400 can be achieved without any ACT or second pharmacist needed to support the checking.

Ghengis Pharm, Locum pharmacist

Hi Richard, you look baffled. "Am I a specialist, or just a generalist. I can't remember. I'd ask someone but there's no-one around"

I'll keep doing this until C&D stop using this stock image.


Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

I think it's the "Did I just sit on an egg mayo" look

Roger Schofield, Locum pharmacist

Boots have always tried to divide the profession. They have done it in the past trying to negotiate directly with the government hence weakening the professional stance.

Caroline Jones, Community pharmacist

It's not very clear at all what this role is; they say that the 'independent prescriber' qualification is desirable/needed........presumably to have the scripts dispensed by this not a conflict of interests? 

A B, Community pharmacist

I can't see how an independant prescriber in a community pharmacy setting can prescribe under the NHS unless they have a specific commissioned service in that area e.g. an anticoagulant clinic. 

Maybe their prescribing role will be used for private services. 

Like you say, very thin on detail at the moment.

Snake Plissken, Student

It’s boot’s stick and carrot approach to try and retain experienced pharmacist or get out even more from existing pharmacist who’ll set their ambition on becoming one. But only a select few brainwashed institutionalised few will get on and for the rest the bar is set high that no one will because you can never be “legendary”.

Nothing new here. They did the same with their advance practitioner role that came to nothing. 


Sorry I don't think that it helps pharmacy in any way to create such distinctions. Going forward our profession will need individuals who have a skill set that actually isn't that different from what we are all trained in.

The public wants and needs from community pharmacists will and are changing but we need to find a way so that ANY pharmacist can transition if they want to.

Better to say that the skill-set that everyone already has is central to safe and effective practice but that we need to develop our skills even more. Consultation skills, basic clinical assessment skills. 

I'm not sure if this article is written to deliberately stir things up but every pharmacist is already clinical and should be helped move those skills forward. I would hate to think that we are creating a "class apart".

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

So the "clinical" wedge is being even driven between pharmacists within the sector?

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