NHS England has said that 240 pharmacy roles in care homes supported by the Pharmacy Integration Fund (PhIF) will not be fully deployed until March 2019, despite initial expectations that they would be filled five months earlier.
The new roles, which will be split between 180 pharmacist and 60 pharmacy technician posts, were announced in February 2018. In July 2018, Wasim Baqir, national pharmacy lead (care homes) for NHS England, said it was anticipated that the 240 people would be “starting their exciting roles by October”. But, on 19 October 2018, Baqir told The Pharmaceutical Journal that the recruitment process was “never due to be fully completed by October 2018” and that it was now likely the roles would be filled by March 2019.
“Local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) remain in the process of recruiting and it is anticipated all places … will be filled by March 2019,” he said.
The new posts were set out as part of NHS England and NHS Improvement’s ‘Refreshing NHS plans for 2018/19’, which stated that CCGs would be expected to commission medicines optimisation for care home residents. This optimisation will be delivered by the 240 new posts, which will be funded by the PhIF for two years and enable each sustainability and transformation partnership to deploy pharmacists and pharmacy technicians into their local care homes.
The posts are part of the Medicines Optimisation in Care Homes (MOCH) programme, which is also enabling the training of 600 community pharmacy-based pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to help deliver multidisciplinary care in care home settings.
NHS England and Health Education England have also recently announced 200 independent prescribing (IP) training places for pharmacists who are working in care homes in England but are not enrolled in any MOCH programme. NHS England told The Pharmaceutical Journal that these IP training places are for pharmacists who are already working in a care home setting for at least two days per week, and who have access to a prescribing budget and a medical practitioner (e.g. a GP or consultant) to act as mentor and supervisor.
Pharmacists who meet these criteria can apply for IP training places online.