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NHS England: Will be ‘challenge’ to recruit 7.5k PCN pharmacists

Richard Cattell: Where are the planned 7,500 pharmacists going to come from?
Richard Cattell: Where are the planned 7,500 pharmacists going to come from?

It will be a “really big challenge” to recruit the planned 7,500 “clinical” pharmacists to PCNs, NHS England’s deputy chief pharmaceutical officer Richard Cattell has said.

While there are already “clinical” pharmacists working in primary care networks (PCNs) – groups of local GP practices covering an average of 50,000 people – since they were set up in July, fulfilling NHS England’s aim of having six pharmacists working in each of the 1,300 PCNs by 2023-24 will be a challenge, Mr Cattell said last week (September 13).

“That is a big number. Where are they going to come from?” he said in response to a question from the audience at the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) annual conference in Birmingham.

The commissioning body “has some work to do” to ensure pharmacy is “something that people want to [study]”, if it wants to secure a pipeline of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians for all sectors, Mr Cattell added.

“People like me have got to encourage education institutions to provide the right kind of training, in the right kind of way, and make sure the policy context is right,” he said.

All pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have a role to play in supporting PCNs, Mr Cattell added.

Would you consider working in a PCN?

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

Advice to the wise would be PCN pharmacists is to stick to salary scales rather than undercut your colleagues , all the pharmacists moving into the area need to be realistic with their salaries not less than 45k dependent on responsiblity esp if IP and upwards since any less would be a disservice to the profession and the responsibility since anyone doing the job less than 37k need to give their head a wobble and stick together , even in oversupply the message is stick to together with one message  since history shows that pharmacy has poor record in this respect and there already mutiples moving into the area who will tout your skills for alot less Don't Do it !!!!

Paul Dishman, Pharmaceutical Adviser

The multiples will have up their wages and employ more support staff to prevent a mass defection of pharmacists.

SP Ph, Community pharmacist

LOL. Are we in the 50's or what?

This could be a good opportunity for locum pharmacists or pharmacists who are not locked into working at one pharmacy.

No way if you are full time you can say to your regular employer "can you support me whilst I train to be a PCN pharmacist so I can get a better job?". Very few community pharmacists I've met who are full time at one pharmacy and/or the manager have opportunities to do things like IP courses. Employers know this means the pharmacist is looking at getting out of their current job, so will be unlikely to support them unless there is a gain for the business (understandable I suppose). It would be a big risk for some with financial/family commitments to leave regular employment and retrain for 18 months for a job which is less than or equal to your current pay.

I'd be interested to know what the job actually involves, all sounds very vague at the moment.

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

If young pharmacist why not the future is PCN and practice pharmacists i think for quality of life and no weekend working and finishing at reasonable time that you go do thinks what other people do ie go to the gym or cinema or spend time with the kids rather than work in a late night pharmacy until 11.00pm  which does your health no good

Snake Plissken, Student

The Salary can be described as abysmal at best. However, the pressure and stress of working in community pharmacy will drive pharmacist out even though it will mean a cut. Just need to remember the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. 



Chris ., Community pharmacist

What is the salary?

Andrew Martin, Primary care pharmacist

NHS AfC Band 7 or 8A (page 13 of Presumably Band 7 for the clinical pharmacists and 8A for the senior clinical pharmacists.

Daniel McNulty, Superintendent Pharmacist

So, Clinical pharmacist 7-8A £37,810 (maximum reimbursable cost).

Or, on today, we have:

Are you an experienced Nanny looking for a long term daily role?

If so, we have an exciting opportunity to join a lovely family on a Permanent basis which is to start ASAP.

£38,000 per year.

Nether Alderley, if anyone's interested...

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Think I’ll go with the lovely family in Nether Alderley

Andrew Martin, Primary care pharmacist

Ah, be careful. Only 70% of salary costs are reimbursable by NHSE. PCNs have to fund the difference. Actual pay will be higher. NHS Pay scales here for example 

Alima Batchelor, Primary care pharmacist

I think the issue is the unfortunate use of the figure 70% in all of the DH statements. As others have said, a band 7 salary for a prescribing pharmacist simply isn't good enough, but because practices have been told that the £37,810 is "70%" a lot of them won't even consider paying more. This runs the risk of inexperienced pharmacists taking up posts and being expected to undertake duties which they are not really competent to manage. When challenged a DHSC bod told me "We never said it had to be band 7 or 8a" - well that is certainly the way it is being interpreted in some quarters. Far better (in my view) to have said "We are giving you £xx,xxx towards the cost of a suitably experienced pharmacist."  

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Tough choice.

Job of the week

Support Pharmacist
Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Heartl
up to £47,500 dependent on hours (30-40 hours flexible)