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Pharmacists may receive £20,000 to become practice partners

BMA: Community pharmacists could become part-time GP surgery partners
BMA: Community pharmacists could become part-time GP surgery partners

Pharmacists could be offered £20,000 to enter into a GP practice partnership.

The amount will initially be granted as a loan but it is envisaged that “it will automatically convert to a permanent payment after an expected minimum number of years (for example, five) as a partner”, according to the GP contract arrangement published yesterday (February 6).

From April, new partners will receive a “business training allowance” of £3,000 “and a guaranteed one-off payment of £20,000 for a full-time GP to support their establishment as a new partner”, the British Medical Association (BMA) said in the contract.

The new to partnership payment, which is a national scheme, has been introduced mainly to attract “early to midcareer GPs into partnership opportunities”, the BMA added.

However, the scheme will be “open to other professional groups”, including pharmacists and nurses, according to the BMA, which said that further guidance on the scheme will be “published following ongoing engagement with the profession and wider stakeholders”.

Pharmacists can become partners in a practice holding a General Medical Services (GMS) or a Personal Medical Services (PMS) contract, the BMA told C+D this afternoon (February 7).

Pharmacists currently based in a community pharmacy setting will not be required to leave their role “completely”, the BMA said. They could become part-time partners and “be paid pro-rata” – as the £20,000 sum is based on 37.5 hours a week – continuing to work part-time as community pharmacists.

The scheme is likely to evolve "in light of experience" and the BMA expects it to run for two or three years in “its initial phase”.

Would you consider becoming a partner in a GP practice?

Allan Wilson, Community pharmacist

The article should make clear that this only applies to the GP contract in England

Farhat Ahmed, Locum pharmacist

what are they expecting the pharmacist to do for that kind of money, nothing clinical I don't think. I suppose they could do reception work for that kind of money, but I am not sure if a phamacist would be under qualified to do the receptionist job because 99% of reception staff consider themselves to be junior doctors

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Personally, receptionists do a lot towards making a surgery run smoothly and are completely invaluable. Some do go beyond their scope, but I think that, at least in my opinion, because they could do with more support from both ourselves in Pharmacy, and in Surgery. I think it is one of the benefits of having pharmaceutical staff in GP surgery is that it helps bridge that gap.

Edward Upton, Primary care pharmacist

The £20,000 is a one off payment for agreeing to be a partner. The pharmacist would have a wage on top of that obviously! 

Paul Dishman, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Correct. Too many people don't read the article properly

Richard MacLeavy, Dispenser Manager/ Dispensing Assistant

I don't see many being attracted to this role as it seems they are offering pharmacists £20,000 for 37.5 hours or payment pro-rata if they work part time. This seems to be seriously undervaluing a pharmacists time. That gives an hourly rate of £10.26 an hour. They would be lucky to attract dispensers at that rate

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Apart from that being a one-off payment, that's quite a pay rise for several dispensers I'm aware of.

Edward Upton, Primary care pharmacist

They aren't going to pay a practice partner working full time £20,000 per year, that would be ridiculous. The £20,000 is a golden hello to agree to be a partner. There would be a regular wage on top of that.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

37.5 hours is part-time? So what is full-time - 60+! I don't see many GPs working more than 37.5 hours, when you take in to account their afternoons off, 'protected learning time' (that's also an afternoon off), 'administration time' (on Facebook) etc. One of the reasons practices can offer earlier starts and later finishes for patient appointments is because they have more than one GP, each of whom does a proprotion of the opening hours on any specific day. Pharmacists are in for the duration (100 hours excepted - and even then...)!

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Calm down Adam, even though we have left the EU, Working Time Directive still applies currently.

Neil Heffernan, Community pharmacist

I don't think they mean 37.5 hours is part time. It's insinuating that you could be paid a proportion of the £20000 which is based on the 37.5hour working week. Not particularly well worded in the article though.

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