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Pharmacy chain to share 10 of its pre-regs with local GP practices

The pre-regs will undertake tasks such as monitoring blood and conducting care home rounds
The pre-regs will undertake tasks such as monitoring blood and conducting care home rounds

Imaan Healthcare will share 10 of its pre-registration pharmacists with local GP practices from this summer, C+D has learned.

Health Education England (HEE) announced last month that up to 126 training places have been reserved for pre-regs to split their time between community pharmacy and GP practices.

Of the 126 reserved places, independent chain Imaan Healthcare has secured five pre-regs who will divide their time between working in the group’s pharmacies and local GP surgeries, the chain’s head of training Khalid Khan told C+D last week (June 5).

However, while the five Imaan Healthcare pre-reg placements funded by HEE will start in 2019, the chain is trialling the programme with 10 other pre-regs “from this summer”, to ensure “[it] is fit for purpose”.

Rather than split the pre-reg year into “two chunks” of six-month placements, the scheme will involve GP surgery placements running “parallel” to community pharmacy placements, he explained.

Placements in “our [pharmacies] in the north, [including] Manchester” will be split with “two-and-a-half days in the practice and two-and-a-half-days in the community pharmacy”, while London placements will be a “morning-afternoon split”, Mr Khan said.

All of these pre-regs will complete tasks such as monitoring blood, conducting care home ward rounds, managing long-term conditions and carrying out immunisations, Mr Khan explained.

12-month placements “dying a death”

“I think we have to accept that the old-style 12-month placement is slowly dying a death,” he said.

Running the placements concurrently during the week will ensure they “really complement each other” and pre-regs will see the “seamless transition across primary care”, Mr Khan added.

The project is about “future-proofing” the NHS, he said, to help “solve the GP workforce crisis”, while “upskilling pharmacists” to work across primary care.

Current NHS England guidelines suggest a pharmacist should be qualified for two years before joining general practice. However, Mr Khan said qualified pharmacists with two years’ experience in a different sector are “thrown in the deep end” if they then join a GP surgery.

The scheme’s aim is to develop “pre-regs to be able to get into [the GP pharmacist] role almost from day one”, Mr Khan said, so they are “better prepared than someone who has been thrown in after two years working in a community hospital”, for example.

“We need to get out of our comfort zone and so do [trainee pharmacists],” he added.

Mental health placement trial

As well as the variation in how the placements will be split, they “won’t be one-size-fits-all”, Mr Khan explained.

In a separate trial, one pre-reg due to join Imaan Healthcare this summer will undertake a placement at a private mental health hospital, he said.

“She’ll be doing medicines, audit rounds…working with multidisciplinary teams [and] liaising with the consultants.”

If the trial is successful, “that’s something else we’ll be rolling out”, he added.

Would you consider sharing your pre-regs with local GP practices?

Dave Downham, Manager

Does that mean imaan will be handing back 50% of the pre-reg grant?

Overworked Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Only if it’s the 1st of April perhaphs? 

Khalid Khan, Superintendent Pharmacist

Why would we give it back? We will be the "lead employer" for the full 12 months, pay a £17,000 salary plus N.I. and also pay for enrolment on to an RPS-accredited external training programme at £1100 + VAT (ProPharmace). We'd also deal with all HR, dual-sector induction, developing the GP-based cirriculum and much more. Technically this is all a moot point as the grant is a training grant, not salary support (ref- PSNC) - although I accept that is what it is primarily used as. The grant isn't based on hours worked by the pre-reg. There are companies who pay their pre-regs £12,000 pa and pocket the rest, I don't agree with them but it's perfectly legal. 

Dave Downham, Manager

Excellent - so you are donating a body to the GP surgery FOC?

Khalid Khan, Superintendent Pharmacist


Richard Stephenson, Senior Management

Hi Khalid, I think this is a great opportunity to expand what pre reg students learn before hitting practise the year after. As an employer for 24 pharmacies in Scotland we would welcome the same programme being in place. We operate a similar programme but they do 6 months in community and 6 months in Hospital. My personal view here is that the forward thinking menatility of Imaan Health should be praised not questioned! And when you mention some paying £12k a year I have seen people being paid ZERO. A lot of time and effort goes into a pre reg training year, usually resulting in any funding being swallowed up and costing the business. Good luck with the trial this year, will be interersting to read how it works out. Richard 



Khalid Khan, Superintendent Pharmacist

Hi Richard, thanks for the words of encouragement - much appreciated! Pretty much everyone involved in academia, training and education is very supportive of this type of set up. I’m all for working the pre-reg hard during the year but it has to be win-win, the pre-reg must benefit at least as much as the employer, ideally more. Also yes I’m aware of the situation in Scotland, I’ve interviewed students who have been offered pre-reg places outside NES with no salary!

Nalin Shah, Community pharmacist

innovative thinking, impressive

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I think it is a good idea. If I was honest, how a surgery works is somewhat alien to me and I'm sure it is also vice versa as well. Understanding how one another operates can only be beneficial for promoting synergy between the two.

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