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Welsh government pledges £5m to double number of pre-reg pharmacists

Welsh government: This is the UK's first wholly multi-sector training programme for pharmacists
Welsh government: This is the UK's first wholly multi-sector training programme for pharmacists

The Welsh government will invest an extra £4.9 million to almost double the number of pre-registration pharmacist places across community, hospital and general practice.

An additional £3.6m will be invested in 2020-21, followed by a further £1.3m by 2023-24, minister for health and social services Vaughan Gething announced today (April 17).

As well as almost doubling the number of pre-reg places – from 120 to 200 – by August 2023, the government has pledged to “to transform the way pharmacists are trained in Wales”, by introducing what it claimed is the UK's first wholly multi-sector training programme.

For the first time, all pre-reg pharmacists will be employed and trained by the NHS, regardless of whether they complete the majority of their training in a community pharmacy, hospital or GP surgery, the government explained.

Health Education and Improvement Wales said this would help “remove barriers, allowing trainees to move easily between sectors and gain more experience”.

“This centralisation will also free up time within the workplace to focus completely on providing great training,” it added.

The initiative is launched as part of a UK-wide ‘Train, Work, Live’ campaign, which aims to attract more pre-regs to Wales.

Commenting on the announcement, Mr Gething said: “Pharmacists play an increasingly important role in the delivery of healthcare in Wales.

“As demand for their clinical skills increases, we must ensure we are able to train a sufficient number of pharmacists to meet the needs of the NHS in Wales in all sectors of pharmacy practice.”

Russell Goodway, chief executive of Community Pharmacy Wales, said the organisation has been “actively engaged” in efforts to develop the pipeline of student and pre-reg pharmacists.

“Community pharmacies in parts of Wales struggle to recruit and retain pharmacists, so this initiative is very welcome indeed,” he added.

What do you make of the Welsh government's announcement?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

South West and Wales struggle historically to recruit from my experience geographical and social reasons, rather than numbers. The areas are nice for the most part but for a newly qualified young individual, there's no incentive to be there.

C A, Community pharmacist

I'm not sure I can get behind a 67% increase being called a doubling in the headline.

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

What will all these pharmacists be doing? What will they be paid ?

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