NHS Health Education England (HEE) has tendered a contract worth £32,000 to hire a provider that will develop a workforce strategy for pharmacy in genomics.
The two-year contract, which opened for bids on 22 April 2021, will see the successful provider also lead a new Pharmacy Workforce Group for Genomics.
This follows the rollout of the NHS Genomic Medicine Service (GMS) in 2018, which was designed to build on the NHS’s contribution to the 100,000 Genomes Project.
As part of the service, NHS England said it would be looking to deliver three workforce development programmes covering nursing and midwifery, pharmacy and medical practitioners, in partnership with HEE’s Genomics Education Programme.
According to the contract tender, HEE “aims to procure a provider to support the development and implementation of a workforce development strategy for pharmacy in genomics and steer a new Pharmacy Workforce Group for Genomics”.
“With genomics becoming more relevant in community services we need to ensure we have the right knowledge, skills and behaviours to deliver the service,” it adds.
“The pharmacy workforce is integral to realising the benefits of personalised medicine and medicines optimisation driven by genomic and diagnostic characterisation.”
The NHS GMS is delivered through a network of seven genomic laboratory hubs (GLHs), which will provide the genomic tests that will be available through the NHS in England.
All the genomic tests that will be available are listed in the National Genomic Test Directory.
According to a February 2021 letter from the Central and South GLH to service users, GLHs are “currently transitioning to full implementation of the test directory”.
“This will be completed by April 2021 for rare disease with some further work required during 2021/22 for cancer tests,” the letter said.
As part of the NHS GMS, NHS England has also set up regional infrastructure to support the use of genomic medicines.
In an update for hospital chief pharmacists in July 2020, NHS England said it expects one chief pharmacist from each of seven regions to be a member of the regional ‘GMS alliance’ senior governance team.
Chief pharmacists are also expected to support the development and delivery of regional pharmacy transformation projects — including developing a strategy for workforce development in genomics.
The deadline for bids on the HEE contract is 13 May 2021, with the contract to start on 1 July 2021.