Health Education England has been told it must train 500 clinical pharmacists for roles in general practice by the end of 2019-2020.
The Department of Health and Social Care’s mandate to HEE for 2019-20 said this requirement was there in order to support the wider expansion and transformation of primary care, including the objective for every primary care network to have a dedicated clinical pharmacist (in addition to those already working in general practice).
In addition, HEE has been tasked with developing the infrastructure that will underpin a new foundation training programme for pharmacists to ensure all pharmacists are able to work across the full range of healthcare settings.
Under the PCN directed enhanced services contract, each of the 1,259 PCNs has received funding of £37,800 to employ a clinical pharmacist by July 2019.
PCNs will be given funding to recruit more than one clinical pharmacist from 2020-2021, with the expectation that by 2023-24 a typical network of 50,000 patients could have a team of six whole-time equivalent clinical pharmacists, according to the five year GP contract agreed with the British Medical Association in January.
By 2024, clinical pharmacists, social prescribing link workers, physician associates, first contact physiotherapists and first contact community paramedics (the other groups of staff for which funding is earmarked) are expected to have become an integral part of the core general practice model throughout England.
It is thought that having a dedicated pharmacy team makes it possible to create roles such as undertaking structured medication reviews, improving medicine optimisation and safety, and supporting care homes, as well as running practice clinics.
NHS England also intends bring onto the scheme the pharmacists funded under the existing Clinical Pharmacists in General Practice Scheme and the separate Pharmacists in Care Homes Scheme.