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Sector underwhelmed by recruitment of 1,500 GP pharmacists

NHS England also will pump £20m into a pharmacy integration fund in 2016-17

More than £112 million will be spent to give every practice access to a clinical pharmacist


Pharmacy organisations are underwhelmed by government plans to fund 1,500 practice pharmacists in GP surgeries.

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive Sue Sharpe said today (April 22) that NHS England’s plans “do not go far enough” because they fail to take full advantage of community pharmacy.

Ms Sharpe stressed pharmacists working in GP practices must work as part of a team that “properly integrates” practices and community pharmacy teams.

"Hard to swallow"

Pharmacy Voice said the news of a significant investment into GPs will “feel hard to swallow”.

The lobbying group said NHS England’s increased investment “sits entirely with GPs” and “ignores and undermines” the crucial role played by community pharmacy team members.

It would be a mistake to try to resolve the "underutilisation" of professional expertise by placing a pharmacist in every GP practice when the pilot is yet to be evaluated, Pharmacy Voice added.

The RPS stressed that the “Pharmacy Integration Fund” should not be used to directly employ pharmacists in GP surgeries.

English Pharmacy Board chair Sandra Gidley said the creation of new jobs for pharmacists shows a “strong commitment” to the profession, but a detailed plan of how community pharmacy's role can be further enhanced is now needed. 


NHS England has pledged to fund a further 1,500 pharmacists to work alongside GPs.

As part of its new strategy document for GPs, published today (April 21), the commissioner said it will make a “new offer to every practice in the country to access a clinical pharmacist”.

NHS England will use an additional £112 million to quadruple the existing practice pharmacist pilot – currently recruiting more than 450 pharmacists – to assist every GP practice not involved in the current scheme.

“Appetite for the original pilot scheme was high,” it said. “We will need to learn more from the evaluation, but early indications suggest clinical pharmacists may have a role in streamlining practice prescription processes, medicines optimisation, minor ailments and long-term conditions management.”

“Pharmacists remain one of the most underutilised professional resources in the system and we must bring their considerable skills in to play more fully,” it said.

GP staff already direct patients to a wide range of alternative services, including pharmacy minor ailment schemes, it stressed.

Pharmacy Integration fund

The document also makes reference to a new pharmacy integration fund, worth £20 million in 2016-17 and rising by a further £20m each year.

This will “help further transform how pharmacists, their teams and community pharmacy work as part of wider NHS services in their area”. “Subject to a separate consultation, our proposals include better support for GP practices, for care homes and for urgent care for the use of the fund,” it added.

A total of £2.4 billion extra funding for GPs

The proposals will be funded as part of an injection of £2.4 billion into general practice by 2020-21 – a 14% increase in funding.

NHS England told C+D it will finance the plans with part of the £8bn in funding it will receive from the government by 2020.


Would you consider becoming a practice pharmacist?

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P M, Community pharmacist

cut locum wages now help with clawback .. every little helps

Margaret Hook, Superintendent Pharmacist

Listening to Bruce Warner at the Clinical Pharmacy Congress today - he asked Are pharmacists ready to accept responsibility for patient outcomes in chronic disease management? Ready to be integrated within the wider Heath community? Ready to manage long term conditions and become Independent Prescribers ?  ... My pharmacy is Is Yours?

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

For the majority of pharmacists 'their pharmacy' is not theirs in any other respect than to take the blame when things go wrong and to meet commercial targets. For those pharmacists they are ready to carry out the orders of the area manager. Mr Warner would be best discussing his ideas with the board of directors and then directives will filter down to the shop floor. 

Margaret Hook, Superintendent Pharmacist

I have only Independent prescribers in my team, including my regular locums and try to maintain 2 pharmacists on duty so we can carry out NMS and MUR's as necesssry

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

How much are you paying them?

Mohammed Rafiq, Community pharmacist

Pharmacists on the way up. Pharmacy contarctors going downhill with 6% cuts

Interested Person, Manager

Like them or hate them it is the contractors that sit on the high street giving constant no appointment needed advice to millions of local people daily. These posts seem to be calling for the demise of 'contractors'. Whether you like the motivation of the contractor or not they are employing clinical pharmacists to provide essential local healthcare services. If 'pharmacy' disappears into the (privately owned contractor equivalent) GP surgery how easy will it be for the local community to access the type of free and accessible service that currently exists? "I can book you an appointment with the pharmacist but it will be in a weeks time" "no pre booked appointments - please phone on the day and take pot luck" 

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

With respect, I think you will find that it is employees/locums who are nearly exclusively tarred with the same brush. This is an exceedingly contractor-centric publication and an assumed Saint like status for contractors is a given. The fact that any individual contractor can provide an excellent service has never been disputed. The fact that any individual branch of a multiple can provide excellent service has never been disputed. The fact that an individual area manager can behave ethically and with equity has never been disputed. However, when you have worked as pharmacist for over 20 years and you have worked in well over 70 pharmacies, you will not be told that something is true when you know by experience the exact opposite is true. As a conservative estimate, I would consider a minimum of one third of what I read in this publication to be empirically false (compared to the reality of the shop-floor). It requires an employee/locum voice to correct these lies, a voice that is not officially heard in this publication. 

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

I agree with much of what you have said and certainly haven't heard much from the much derided Londonlocum and Sami of late.

Interested Person, Manager

and please stop tarring all contractors with the multiple brush. Great pharmacists are welcome at many small independents who are passionate about the service they provide locally. So if you are fed up and disillusioned with your contractor perhaps you should find one that will embrace and develop your skills - before they disappear

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

This is a contractor site, you'll be abused mercilessly

Antonio Lex, Primary care pharmacist

Again more news and all the pharmacists can do is moan. We are a miserable pessamistic profession. Im a practice based pharmacist and prescriber. I get £60k a year for 37.5hrs over a 4day week with nhs pension.


I love it and dont regret becoming a pharmacist for one day.

This is a brilliant oppurtunity.

Toni Lloyd, Community pharmacist

The salaries being offered are varied and not all are getting this amount. Many are on the Band 7 rate, myself included but the role is developing

Ishaq Ali, Student

Hello Antonio, any advice for a second year pharmacy student to get to where you are right now?

P M, Community pharmacist

why are you registered on here as  a non healthcare professional ?

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

What's that got to do with anything? He told you hes a practice pharmacist already fo goodness sake.

Antonio Lex, Primary care pharmacist

Registered years ago as a student

Antonio Lex, Primary care pharmacist

What the hell you talking about disollusioned pharmacist? What do I have to gain from lieing? As a student I was a non-medical healthcare professional. Furthermore im not really bothered about my cyber title on an online website... Whats the big deal?

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

Always shooting the messenger.......typical

Antonio Lex, Primary care pharmacist

Not that I really care Chauchan. It comes across envy to me. They are not in my position thus believe such roles cannot exist and accuse me of lieing. Its self concelation.

Disillusioned Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

That's a very odd thing to say about registration.............. and  being a Practice Pharmacist makes you a Non healthcare professional does it?  It all seems a bit swiss cheese.....

Lancelot Spratt, Accuracy checking technician

He registered on this forum years ago when he was a student. Why is that a strange statement?

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

People are always worried about the messenger instead of focussing on the message.

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

Thanks for sharing a positive story Antonio, they are easily missed in current climate!

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

Antonio I agree with you!! I will soon be in the same boat as you fingers crossed

Antonio Lex, Primary care pharmacist

Thankyou. I do feel its my positive outlook that helped me get the role. 

I agree. There are some bizarre comments. It seems that if some people cant snipe at the Govt or Docs they turn on their own colleagues. Things aint great in pharmacy i agree, but when opportunity arises we need to grasp it or we will all be seen as pill-counting defeatists

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

Yes you' re absolutely correct but contractors don't make a penny out of practice pharmacists and so.....

Peter Prokopa, Community pharmacist

Will everyone - including C&D please - stop calling practice pharmacists "clinical pharmacists" - all pharmacists working in a patient-facing role are clinical pharmacists! Grr!

Matthew Edwards, Community pharmacist

makes sense. We are having trouble recruiting because noone wants the poor salary. Apetite for scheme was high till the GPs realised they would have to fund some of it themselves instead of pocketing it. So if it is 75k per head is the DoH funding the whole salary now.  And remember after the first year the GP surgery was to take over a higher percentage of the cost.  Not job security in my eyes because we all know what will happen to the practice pharmacist then



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