The training will “enable existing pharmacists, at least those who want to, to accelerate their development [so that they are all] at the same level of clinical competence”, according to Keith Ridge, chief pharmaceutical officer at NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I).
“Thousands” of community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have already taken part in training schemes in England, from which NHSE&I has learned it needs to go “further and faster”, Dr Ridge told delegates at the local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) conference yesterday (September 16).
The educational framework
The new educational framework is likely to include a combination of “credentialing” – the process of establishing the qualifications of a clinical professional – “and [their] existing portfolio of training and experience”.
As part of the framework, a “personal development plan” is agreed to “get everyone up to the same level, including independent prescribing”, Dr Ridge added.
Dr Ridge stressed that “it’s in everyone’s interest” that employers and the NHS join forces to develop this framework.
“It will, of course, take some time to get everyone who wants to do it to get through such a programme and, of course, clinical service development must go hand in hand.
“However, the professional reward for individual community pharmacies will be considerable and, importantly, patients and the public will benefit,” Dr Ridge added.
Pharmacy regulators, the four UK chief pharmaceutical officers and the sector’s educational bodies have already outlined their intention of reforming the initial education and training of pharmacists to introduce a clinical foundation year.
Inclusive health and “clinical future”
Dr Ridge said he was “shocked and chastened by the evidence of workplace inequalities” and said that work is being done to develop “inclusive professional practice” that will help the profession provide the very best patient care. More details on this will be shared “in due course”, he said.
“There is a very exciting and positive clinical future ahead for community pharmacy,” Dr Ridge said.