The application criteria for the Clinical Pharmacists in General Practice programme have been changed to make it easier for GP surgeries to apply for co-funding for a GP pharmacist.
From 23 October 2018, the current population criteria will reduce from 1 whole-time equivalent (WTE) clinical pharmacist per 30,000 population to 1 per 15,000 population. In addition, the scheme will allow for pharmacists to work part time at 0.5 WTE; previously a pharmacist’s role had to be at least 0.8 WTE to be considered for funding under the programme.
Details of the changes were set out in a letter from Ian Biggs, director of primary care workforce and infrastructure programmes at NHS England. In the letter, Biggs confirmed that the criteria change applied to existing sites interested in extending their model and any past applications that were not approved because they did not meet the previous criteria.
Sandra Gidley, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) English Pharmacy Board, welcomed the change and said the RPS wanted pharmacists to become key players in the primary care multidisciplinary team wherever they practised.
“Changing the ratio of pharmacists per head of population means smaller GP practices will now be included in the scheme, so more patients will benefit from the care of a pharmacist. Changing the working hours required will allow pharmacists greater flexibility and encourage more portfolio working.”
According to NHS England, around 580 clinical pharmacists are currently working in general practice. Under the terms of the General Practice Forward View, over £100m has been committed to support more than 1,500 WTE pharmacist posts in general practice by 2020/2021.