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NHSE launches training programme to expand community pharmacy roles

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The NHS England has introduced a training programme for 1000 staff to broaden their community pharmacy roles, thereby improving patient access to services. Among them, 500 pharmacy staff will be trained to supervise pharmacists during prescription training, while the remaining 500 will provide support for various training, including pre and post-registration programmes for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

According to the NHSE, pharmacist and pharmacy technician roles are rapidly evolving due to healthcare changes and increased demand for clinical services in community pharmacy. “There are 3,000 independent prescribing training spots available for 2023/24. Educational supervision is a crucial part of this to enable the ongoing transformation and skills development of the growing pharmacy workforce.”

The NHSE-funded training, scheduled to begin next month, will ensure that those involved in educational supervision, including Designated Supervisors (DSs), Pre-registration Trainee Pharmacy Technician education supervisors and Designated Prescribing Practitioners (DPPs), can effectively support learners.

The NHSE said that both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are eligible to apply for education supervisor training. “Regulatory changes in 2019 expanded the opportunity for any experienced independent prescriber to seek DPP training.”

The training will flexibly accommodate work schedules, enabling learners to enhance their skills and knowledge in providing educational supervision, all while prioritising patient safety and person-centred care, the NHSE added. The implementation of the programme will be conducted by ProPharmace Ltd, under the coordination of the Pharmacy Integration Programme at NHS England.

“This aligns with NHS England’s strategy to enhance access to prescribing supervision in community pharmacy,” said David Webb, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at NHSE. “Our goal is to foster a culture in which current pharmacist independent prescribers transition into Designated Prescribing Practitioners and Designated Supervisors as part of their career progression. This effort forms part of our overarching work to prepare the NHS to mentor and support the incoming wave of pharmacist independent prescribers starting in 2026.”

“Leveraging their expertise, Education Supervisors will facilitate the training of a greater number of pre and post-registration Pharmacy Technicians, nurturing their clinical responsibilities and services, thereby reinforcing reforms and ensuring sustainability for the future,” said Liz Fidler, Senior Professional Advisor for Pharmacy Technician Practice at NHSE.

“These programmes will provide an innovative approach to developing Educational Supervisors and Designated Prescribing Practitioners, considering individual learning needs and career aspirations,” said Noma Al-Ahmad, Managing Director, ProPharmace. “We eagerly look forward to aiding NHS England in achieving superior supervision standards as a central priority for transforming and enhancing the community pharmacy workforce.”

For registration and further details regarding the training program, including eligibility criteria, visit the ProPharmace website.

More information about the Pharmacy Integration Programme and training opportunities for pharmacy professionals can be found on the Health Education England website.

Meanwhile, the NHS is expanding its blood pressure screening services to diverse local sites, such as barbershops, mosques, and pharmacies, to tackle the rising risk of strokes and heart attacks in men.

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