Bath leads new pharmacist training to strengthen and diversify the pharmacy workforce

The University of Bath is leading on new masters-level training for community pharmacists in the southern NHS regions of England.

Qualified post-registration community pharmacists can enrol through the Pharmacy Integration Fund (PhIF) which has been set up by NHS England to enable pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to integrate into primary care as part of multi-disciplinary healthcare teams.

The idea is to make the most of their clinical skills, particularly for the benefit of people with long-term conditions, by allowing pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to spend more time delivering clinical and public health services.

New training is available for pharmacists to integrate further into primary care. Credit: Andy Thompson

Health Education England (HEE) developed the training, working with stakeholders and partners including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and pharmacy professional bodies, which University of Bath will lead in the south west, south central, south east and London regions following a competitive tendering process.

The University is partnering with University of Exeter Medical School, De Montfort University and Keele University to deliver training for 1,000 pharmacists over the next two years.

Nick Haddington, Director of Taught Postgraduate Programmes in Pharmacy Practice, University of Bath, said: “We are delighted to have been selected to lead the delivery of postgraduate education for community pharmacists in the NHS southern regions and London.

“The primary care pharmacy workforce is experiencing a period of significant change. In order to support a fully integrated primary care system, community pharmacists are needed to provide clinical and professional leadership within a range new of models of care and emerging extended roles.

“The training programmes that we have been commissioned to deliver aim to prepare community pharmacists for this challenge, so that they can use their expertise in the optimisation of patients’ medicines to realise the best possible health outcomes.”

Pharmacists can choose from a range of modules at different credit levels, with a maximum 60 credits per learner per year.

Sixty credits could provide them with a Masters' level post graduate certificate.  At the end of their course pharmacists will have enhanced skills and experience of best practice to take back into their practices to strengthen and diversify the pharmacy workforce.

Learning will encompass five strands: service improvement; extended skills; patient activation; delivering medicines optimisation; and NHS England and local clinical priorities

Bruce Warner, Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at NHS England, said: "The NHS wants to ensure that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians play an increasingly visible and expanded role in improving outcomes and value from medicines for patients across our communities.

"The aim is to better integrate pharmacy professionals into wider primary care by spending more time delivering clinical and public health services to the benefit of patients and the public."

Professor Wendy Reid, Executive Director of Education and Quality & National Medical Director, Health Education England said: “Making sure the workforce has the right skills, behaviours and values to enable effective multi-disciplinary team working and integration within the NHS, is key to the long-term sustainability of the NHS.

“The Pharmacy Integration Fund is enabling us to work with our stakeholders to develop this innovative and engaging new training as part of our broader agenda to drive workforce transformation across the NHS to support locally delivered integrated care models.”

For information about the full range of fully-funded workforce development opportunities offered for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, please see https://hee.nhs.uk/our-work/developing-our-workforce/pharmacy-education-training

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