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Long-awaited NHS England plan sets out programme for development of the pharmacy workforce

This is the first comprehensive workforce plan covering all of NHS England (NHSE) and focuses on retaining existing talent while making the best use of new technology alongside the biggest recruitment drive in health service history.

Mon 3rd July 2023 The PDA

An open letter from the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer’s Team at NHSE outlines what the plans mean for pharmacists and other pharmacy roles, including Pharmacy Technicians.

Read the open letter here:

thumbnail of Open Letter to Pharmacy Professionals – LTWP_

NHSE’s long-awaited workforce plan has been published

The NHSE has set out an ambitious programme for the transformation of the pharmacy workforce in England. The programme is designed to support their strategy for effective medicines use, reduction in health inequalities, and excellence in patient care through multi-professional team working.

Of interest to PDA members will be NHS England’s aims around:

  • Increasing the number of training places for pharmacists each year, including the consideration of pharmacy degree apprenticeships
  • Expanding the pharmacy technician role to support skill-mix
  • The continuation of the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS)
  • The role of technology, for example, hub and spoke models
  • The requirement to increase the number of Designated Prescribing Practitioners (DPPs) to support the independent prescribing agenda.

Alison Jones, PDA Director of Policy said, “We had called for a long-term workforce plan from NHS England, and welcome its publication. It gives greater clarity around the future direction and strategy for professional development, training, and opportunities for those currently working in the health service or considering their future career. There is a strong emphasis on further development of the clinical role of pharmacists to support better patient care.

However, this is a plan that will take years, indeed decades to come to fruition and its success will need to be underpinned by significant funding for its entire life course.

Informed by our members and with patient safety always at the forefront of our minds, we are keen to work with the NHS nationally and at the ICB level to discuss how the pharmacist workforce can most effectively be part of the multidisciplinary team.

Workplace pressures, reductions in support staff, and a lack of protected learning time are matters of immediate concern for many PDA members, issues which are regularly highlighted through activities, such as the safer pharmacies survey. The details of this plan, and how soon the goals can be achieved will be of great importance to pharmacists working at the frontline of NHS care.

The practical delivery of the plan goes well beyond the NHS itself, with universities and employers among those who will need to also contribute. The PDA wants to engage with all stakeholders to ensure the interests of individuals are adequately represented throughout the period covered by the plan.” 

Those who have any comments about the plan are encouraged to email

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