NHS England has not decided how it will recruit an additional 1,500 practice pharmacists to work alongside GPs, C+D has learned.
As part of its new strategy document for GPs, published in April, the commissioner said it will make a “new offer to every practice in the country to access a clinical pharmacist”.
NHS England told C+D on Tuesday (June 7) that these additional practice pharmacists would be recruited over the next three years, but said the recruitment process has not started yet and it does not know what form this process will take. It wants to first “reflect on the way the pilot has worked”, it added.
NHS England has already confirmed it will use £112 million to quadruple the pilot – currently recruiting more than 450 pharmacists – to assist every GP practice not involved already.
It hopes there will be “lots of interest” in the scheme and confirmed it will provide “some form” of support to help practices make the shift to employing a clinical pharmacist.
The practice pharmacy scheme in detail
- In July 2015, the government announced £15 million would be spent on employing at least 250 clinical pharmacists in GP practices. NHS England would pay 60% of their fees for the first year, dropping to 20% by the third and final year.
- After a “staggering” response from applicants, NHS England announced in November of that year that the funding would be more than doubled to £31m to employ 403 pharmacists across 73 pilot sites for three years. NHS England expected the sites to begin recruiting immediately, with roles due to begin in the spring of 2016.
- In April 2016, NHS England confirmed it would fund a further 1,500 pharmacists to work alongside GPs.
Watch: What does a practice pharmacist actually do?