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NHS England doubles funding to employ practice pharmacists

NHS England: Extra funding a response to outstanding quality of applications

The commissioning body says it will spend an extra £16 million to fund a total of 403 pharmacists across 73 pilot sites

NHS England has more than doubled the funding to employ pharmacists in GP surgeries.

The commissioning body originally earmarked £15 million to partially fund “at least” 250 practice pharmacists, and confirmed today (November 16) that this will be increased to £31m to employ 403 pharmacists.

NHS England has now picked the 73 sites that will take part in the scheme, covering a total of 698 GP practices. These sites will begin recruiting pharmacists “immediately”, with roles due to begin in the spring, it said.

Last month, the organisation’s chief executive Simon Stevens announced the scheme would be expanded due to a “staggering” response from applicants, and NHS England confirmed today that the regional panels set up to assess applications were “impressed by the outstanding quality of responses”.

The pilots sites will cover a population of more than 7m patients, NHS England said. "The benefits patients can expect include extra help to manage long-term conditions, specific advice for those with multiple medications and more access to clinical advice on treatments,” NHS England added.

British Medical Association (BMA) GP committee chair Chaand Nagpaul said the scheme is a “positive and important opportunity to develop the role of pharmacists” in relieving the “unsustainable pressures faced by GPs”.

“We need to ensure that the benefits from these pilots can be extended to all practices nationally,” he added.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society launched a joint proposal for more GP surgeries to employ pharmacists in March, and the society's English Pharmacy Board chair Sandra Gidley said NHS England’s extra £16m investment is “a real vote of confidence in the pharmacy profession”.

“More patients will see first hand the difference a practice pharmacist can make to their health, and more GPs will come to regard them as an essential part of the multidisciplinary team,” she added.

Where are the pilots?


Number of pilots 

Number of practices included 

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Will you apply to work at one of the pilot sites?

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What do you make of NHS England's announcement?

janet maynard, Community pharmacist

Pharmacists in each surgery is well needed. Having worked in both GP surgeries and community pharmacies I found it worked best when I worked half a week in each sector.

P M, Community pharmacist

why do this , and scrap esp lps funding in rural areas?

Graham Stretch, Primary care pharmacist

This is excellent news, we delighted to be one of the sites selected for this funding. I look forward to recruiting like minded pharmacists to prove we can make this role work for patients, primary care colleagues and at the same time bring in a new career pathway for our profession.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Good news but let's wait and see what Boots and co have to say....

Robin Conibere, Pharmacist

Not much they can do about it is there?

Graham Stretch, Primary care pharmacist

The local boots managers have been supportive to our GPPs, how do you find them Robin? The practice pharmacists are able to deal with queries from community pharmacy colleagues much more efficiently than going via a receptionist. I often coordinate important patient counselling messages with my local community pharmacists (including at Boots).

Amit Patil, Community pharmacist

Great News for Pharmacy, Pharmacist, & NHS as a whole. Hopefully it will extend to every GP practice in country. Really looking forward to seeing that.

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

Good news for the profession!

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