GP practice training places for foundation year pharmacists increase by almost 40% in one year

Exclusive: More than 1,200 training places will offer training in GP practices in the 2025/2026 year.
gp waiting room with patients sat down

The number of foundation year training places for pharmacists that will involve training from GP practices has increased by 37% in one year, an analysis by The Pharmaceutical Journal has shown.

For the foundation year 2024/2025, there were 886 training places that offered experience in GP practices, while for 2025/2026, there are 1,216 places, show Health Education England data for the National Recruitment Scheme (Oriel).

From 2025/2026, GP practices and primary care networks (PCNs) will be able to act as lead employers for foundation pharmacist trainees in England for the first time. Of the 1,216 places, 66 will offer the full 12-month training period within a GP practice.

The other places will offer GP practice training placements during trainee pharmacists’ foundation years, where they will be employed in a different pharmacy setting.

The Pharmaceutical Journal reported earlier in June 2024 that the number of pharmacy foundation training places for 2025/2026 on Oriel increased by 1,000 on the previous year.

All pharmacist foundation training places had to be offered via the Oriel system for the first time this year. However, trainee pharmacists for general practice also had to be recruited through Oriel in 2024/2025.

All trainees from the 2025/2026 foundation year will be the first to qualify as independent prescribers on registration, meaning they must have a designated prescribing practitioner (DPP) to supervise them during their prescribing training.

However, concerns have been expressed around access to DPPs, particularly in community pharmacy.

In May 2024, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) warned that, unless training sites already had a DPP in place, the likelihood of having one for the start of the 2025/2026 foundation year was “slim”. It encouraged members to consider withdrawing from the Oriel scheme if they felt that they would not be able to source a DPP, to avoid unintended adverse consequences for prospective students.

Commenting on the analysis, Graham Stretch, president of the Primary Care Pharmacy Association, said it was “pleasing” to see the increase in the number of training places available in general practice.

“We would anticipate further increases over time in the role of general practice in training (jointly) foundation pharmacists (and pharmacy technicians). Naturally, increased resources would assist with further uptake, but there is a need for the leadership organisations to highlight the entrustable activities trainees can undertake that can contribute to capacity (and deliver expertise and safety) in general practice,” he said.

“My own experience, delivering now 63 joint training places to date for foundation trainees in general practice, jointly with community and hospitals, has demonstrated that trainees make a sizeable ‘return on investment’ and assist with many of our day-to-day activities around medicines use, optimisation and prescribing processes.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, June 2024, Vol 312, No 7986;312(7986)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2024.1.321985

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