An additional 25 placements for foundation trainee pharmacists will be made available in health and justice sites in England by 2024/2025, the NHS has said.
In a statement to The Pharmaceutical Journal on 9 March 2023, NHS England said that the increase in placement numbers would start with an additional 16 placements in 2023/2024, which would be made available for MPharm students to preference on Oriel, with a further 9 placements available in 2024/2025.
NHS England added that there was one placement in a health and justice site offered in 2022/2023, with the additional placements bringing the total number to 26 in the following two years.
Health and justice sites are responsible for providing healthcare for children, young people and adults in secure and detained settings, such as prisons, secure facilities for children and young people, police and court liaison and diversion services, and immigration removal centres.
The new placements are part of NHS England’s health and justice inclusive workforce programme, set up in response to the ‘NHS People Plan‘, published in 2020/2021, which aims to improve workforce recruitment and retention in the health and justice sector.
In December 2021, NHS England tendered a contract worth £70,000 to “develop and deliver an England-wide campaign to increase the attractiveness of careers in NHS health and justice roles and encourage individuals to apply for them”.
Daniel Hill, senior health and justice pharmacy workforce lead at NHS England, said in a Tweet on 3 March 2023 that the additional placements will mean that more than half of all health and justice sites in England with an onsite pharmacy will host a trainee pharmacist by 2024/2025.
A spokesperson for NHS England said: “These will be 13-week cross sector placements where the trainee pharmacist is employed and hosted by either a NHS hospital trust or a community pharmacy,” adding that it is hoped the placements “will continue indefinitely”.
Taking up a placement in the health and justice sector will allow trainees to be “exposed to the unique environment of health and justice, which includes practice workstreams similar to community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy and general practice,” they added.
The placements are also expected to help with “networking and engagement between pharmacy teams in hospital, community, GP and health and justice practice, that supports improved transfer of care for health and justice patients,” they continued.