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Wales increases number of funded independent prescribing places to 60

“All registered pharmacy professionals” can also access “advanced practice” courses for the first time

Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) has increased the number of independent prescribing training places for community pharmacists from 50 to 60, C+D has learned.

More funding has been made available for community pharmacists wanting to be annotated as independent prescribers (IP) this year, and HEIW will continue to increase it “year on year”, a spokesperson told C+D last week (May 20).

They could not specify how much funding will go into the independent prescribing pot this year, as “it will vary depending on the numbers who take up the offer”, the HEIW spokesperson added.

However, they did confirm that the number of funded places on IP courses had increased from 50 to 60 this year.

A Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) spokesperson told C+D yesterday (May 25) that the funding for community pharmacists to train as IPs “is a significant extra investment over and above the existing Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF)”.

The Welsh negotiator said that previously, funding for IP courses came from within the CPCF.

Pharmacy professionals eligible for funded “advanced” courses

Following confirmation of the 2021/22 HEIW budget by the Welsh Government, pharmacy professionals are also eligible to access funded “advanced or extended practice” education courses – which are usually capped at £5,000 – for the first time, HEIW said on its website.

These courses include “clinical and therapeutic diplomas, specialist areas of practice [such as] mental health, patient assessment skills and general advanced practice skills”, according to the HEIW spokesperson.

The funding available for these courses “can be used to support the expansion of the scope of practice of independent prescribers but is not being used for the initial qualification”, the HEIW spokesperson clarified.

“All registered pharmacy professionals who provide public-facing services from a community pharmacy or GP practice (including self-employed locums) can apply for funding to support them to develop advanced or extended skills,” HEIW explains on its website.

“Applicants need to demonstrate the impact that the training will have on patients and be aligned to key priorities,” the HEIW spokesperson added.

In the past, the Welsh government did allocate funding for community pharmacists to have access to minor ailments training from “one-off pots of money but this is the first time that we have included this sector permanently”, the HEIW spokesperson said.

Applicants must send their submissions by June 30 and they will be informed of the results of their applications by July 14, according to HEIW.

Are you planning to apply to any of the “advanced” courses on offer?

Getting Shorter, Community pharmacist

The IP (sorry, "non-medical prescriber". Seriously. Obviously, we wouldn't be prescribing medicine at any point #rolls eyes#. And we don't work in the area of medicines before starting, even.) course has a bursary of £3000 attached. And you have to be out of the dispensary, working in clinic, for a minimum of 30 days per year. Gonna have to find some really cheap locums.

There's more, but that should give a flavour of why they've sent out lots of increasingly desparate requests for people to apply...

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