Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System (ICS) is piloting a cross-sector programme for newly qualified pharmacists, to address a “growing demand for clinical, patient-facing pharmacy practitioners across all healthcare sectors in Norfolk and Waveney”.
There will be 20 places on offer under the ‘Start, Training, Advantage and Rotation’ (STAR) initiative, with the posts lasting for 24–30 months, with rotation across both general practice and community pharmacy settings.
The fully paid roles are funded through existing vacancies and the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme in primary care network (PCN) general practice.
Pharmacists taking up the roles will also be able to access the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education’s primary care pharmacy education pathway and independent prescribing training, the ICS said in a press release published on 17 February 2023.
“The team is particularly keen to hear from entry-level pharmacists who want to progress their careers, improve outcomes for patients and develop a positive and inclusive culture within pharmacy,” the release added.
“We also wanted to pilot a pipeline pharmacist route into general practice, to enable general practice to adopt our ‘grow your own’ approach where employers invest in building a sustainable workforce.
“This will then mirror the established pharmacist pipeline routes in hospital and community pharmacy practice.”
A spokesperson for Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board (ICB), the commissioning body for NHS services in the area, told The Pharmaceutical Journal on 17 January 2023 that the initiative was “the first national pilot of newly qualified roles in general practice”.
“The pharmacists will engage in post-registration upskilling aligned to the post-registration curriculum and relevant to both general practice and community pharmacy roles,” they added.
Lauren Seamons, deputy chief officer at Norfolk Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC), commented: “Collaboration and communication between community pharmacy and general practice is key to the future integrated models of working in the NHS. Norfolk LPC [is] pleased to support this opportunity to attract pharmacists, at the beginning of their career, to work and develop their skills in Norfolk and Waveney.
“We also encourage our network of community pharmacy teams to welcome the chance of employing these pharmacists, not only to secure a wider variety of skills for future, but also to help influence solutions which will enable community pharmacy workforce stability for the future.”
To be eligible to apply for a place on the STAR initiative, pharmacists need to be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council and working as a pharmacist for less than three years.
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This is a great initiative promoting further integration of care within the system. It would lead to better outcomes and a more effective, efficient and quality care for service users.