Looking back on a successful South London pharmacy education programme

The Pharmacy Education South London (PESL) programme was formed in 2014 as a platform to streamline and co-ordinate the training on offer for community pharmacists and their teams, and was supported by Health Education England funding. South London has approximately 1,800 pharmacists and 600 community pharmacies. Collaborative working was one of the main drivers of the programme, with input from local pharmaceutical committees, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) South London Local Practice Forum (LPF), the Centre for Postgraduate Pharmacy Education (CPPE), and local pharmacy experts and universities. Project managers coordinated activity and communications.

The PESL programme ran evening sessions on locally or nationally relevant topics linked to local priorities and strategies. The programme drew on local expertise and national materials (via CPPE) to ensure sessions were delivered in a consistent and easily accessible format, with minimal duplication or overlap in content with other local training events. The sessions were open to all pharmacy team members.

Funding was also used to support development of Health Champions, and together with the PESL programme, to equip community pharmacy to deliver the community pharmacy contract (as well as the Quality Payments scheme, flu vaccination, and Healthy Living Pharmacy).

With the launch of the ‘NHS Long-Term Plan’ in January 2019, and significant change to how NHS primary care services will be delivered, this is an appropriate time to reflect on our successes of the PESL programme. Over the past four years, 134 individual sessions covering 29 topics have been delivered, attracting an audience of 2,450 pharmacy staff. As well as pharmacists, the sessions attracted pharmacy students, preregistration trainees and pharmacy team members. Formal evaluation of these events[1]
showed that face-to-face training is still the preferred learning format, and that topics were one of the main drivers for attendance. Participants reported that they experienced increased confidence in providing services through increased knowledge acquisition and application in practice.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the countless individuals who have made PESL such a success, including the attendees and those who helped to devise, organise and deliver the programme.

Looking to the future, it is clear pharmacists will be important to the delivery of the ‘NHS Long-Term Plan’, and this will be through integrated ways of working. Pharmacy will need to grasp the opportunities for change that the plan offers, to develop integrated pharmacy workforce models across primary and secondary care.


Ricarda Micallef, deputy chair, Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s South London Local Practice Forum; senior lecturer in pharmacy practice, Kingston University London.

Finlay Royle, chair, Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s South London Local Practice Forum; senior clinical commissioning pharmacist, Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group


[1] Micallef R, Royle F & Kayyali R. Pharmacy Education South London (PESL): lessons to be learnt. Int J Pharm Pract 2015;23(Suppl S2):58. doi: 10.1111/ijpp.12213

[2] Micallef R & Kayyali R. Factors affecting a face to face learning event. Int J Pharm Pract 2018;26(2):183–190. doi: 10.1111/ijpp.12373

[3] Micallef R & Kayyali R. A survey looking at application of knowledge into practice: Pharmacy Education South London — two years on. Int J Pharm Pract 2017;25(Suppl 2):29–30. doi: 10.1111/ijpp.12417

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Looking back on a successful South London pharmacy education programme;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20206260

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