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Delivering a more responsive pharmacy workforce


As outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan, the NHS should make more appropriate use of pharmacy professionals’ clinical skills, helping patients get the right care, at the right time, in the right place.

Our work aims to deliver a more responsive pharmacy workforce, equipped with the skills to deliver a clinical service across all care settings, and adapted to new ways of working.

Our work currently includes:

One in four adults and one in ten children experience mental health problems and many more of us know and care for people who do. Awareness of and attitudes to mental health are slowly changing.  There is now more awareness generally about the importance of everyone maintaining good mental health and providing person-centered support that allows people with problems to live well in the community.

Good physical health and good mental health are linked. There remains an urgent need to improve the physical health and healthcare of people with mental health problems. People with severe and prolonged mental health problems are at risk of dying on average 15 to 20 years earlier than the general population. Conversely, changes to physical health can lead to poor mental health.

The development of this framework of core mental health competencies for all pharmacy professions was started before the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision to fast-track its publication was taken because of the importance of supporting people and colleagues with their mental health in a period that is challenging for everyone. In completing the framework, the project team was mindful of not placing any additional burden on front-line workers. This means the development process was modified and the framework has not been circulated for open comment as would normally be the case. Please provide any feedback on the framework via mentalhealth@hee.nhs.uk by 2 November 2020. If required, the framework will be updated in early 2021.  Please read the pharmacy extended roles report.

Please share this document with your networks. If you have any questions regarding this framework please contact mentalhealth@hee.nhs.uk

Pharmacy for mental health

Read Anita Solanki's blog. She is HEE’s Mental Health Training Programme Director, North School of Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation. 

Our review of pharmacy technician and pharmacist education and training considers what training structures and funding models will best support a pharmacy workforce that can meet future patient need.

Find out more.

Pharmacists, pre-registration pharmacists and pharmacy technicians need the knowledge, clinical skills and behaviours required to provide more person-centred care.

We are working with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK, NHS England and NHS Improvement and other partners and stakeholders to deliver new, innovative training and development opportunities.

Find out more. 

Community pharmacy services are expected to transform, as new clinical pharmacy services, working practices and digital platforms develop to meet the public’s expectations for a modern NHS community pharmacy service.

To ensure we plan our future investment in education commissioning effectively, we carried out a survey to understand the current scale and skill set of the community pharmacy workforce. This was the first time data has been collected and made available on an England-wide scale.  The accompanying survey report is also available at the bottom of this page. 

This data will now be used to:

- inform the commissioning of education and training for the wider primary health care team including community pharmacy

- support education investment decisions

- establish differences and shortages of skill mix in different geographical areas and share good practice

- support understanding of the capacity and capability of the workforce in the community pharmacy sector as part of transformation plans being delivered by the Sustainable Transformation Partnerships (STPs).

As part of its aim to deliver more a responsive pharmacy workforce equipped with the skills to deliver a clinical service across all care settings and adapt to new ways of working, we are working to enhance current pre-registration pharmacist training, creating an education system which is sustainable to meet future patient needs.

Our work on training for pre-registration pharmacists starts with developing more appropriate systems of recruitment and selection, and leads onto enhanced workplace support for the tutor and pre-registration pharmacist.

It is therefore essential that pre-registration pharmacist recruitment and selection is reliable, valid, acceptable, feasible, cost effective, fair and has a positive impact on education, training and quality. A new national recruitment scheme for pre-registration pharmacists was introduced in 2017, aligning with the process used for recruiting other healthcare professionals across the NHS.

The scheme is used to recruit all hospital posts and the majority of community pharmacy posts. Selection is founded on evidence-based methods to ensure that pre-registration pharmacists employed to provide NHS services possess the values required to work within the NHS. 

Find out more.