Although there is currently no funding allocated to recruit pharmacy technicians to PCNs – groups of local GP practices covering an average of 50,000 people – NHS England is looking to see whether “there’s room to put pharmacy technicians into the reimbursement model”, Alison Hemsworth, NHS England’s assistant head of primary care policy for pharmacy and dispensing doctors, said last week (September 13).
Also speaking at the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) annual conference in Birmingham, Wasim Baqir, NHS England national pharmacy lead for care homes, told delegates that while “no formal decisions” have taken place to include pharmacy technicians as part of the “PCN reimbursable workforce”, he suggested “discussions to include them are underway”.
Ms Hemsworth said it would not be long before pharmacy technicians join PCNs, but she and Richard Cattell, NHS England deputy chief pharmaceutical officer – who presented a national policy update at the APTUK conference – were unable to confirm the timeline for this to happen.
“I've been a great advocate of [pharmacy technicians joining PCNs] and I think there's a great deal of support for it, but there's a process to go through to land it,” he said in response to a question from the audience.
Mr Cattell also warned at the conference that it will be a “really big challenge” to recruit the planned 7,500 “clinical” pharmacists to PCNs.