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NHS England approves funding for a further 219 practice pharmacists

NHS England has approved bids to hire a further 219 pharmacists to support GP practices with clinical workload.

This is the result of the first assessment of bids to the £112m practice pharmacist scheme pledged in last year’s GP Forward View, and NHS England said it would benefit around 700 GP practices.

Practices continue to be able to apply to the scheme, and NHS England will approve a new wave of bids later this spring.

The new pharmacists will be in addition to the 490 hired in a pilot phase of the scheme, which launched in 2015 and benefitted some 650 practices.

NHS England’s scheme intends for an extra 1,500 clinical pharmacists to work in GP practices by 2020/21, beyond the numbers hired in the pilot phase.

NHS England director of primary care Dr Arvind Madan said: ‘The clinical pharmacist programme is a clear win-win for patients and GPs.

‘The pilots have shown GP workload to be eased while patients have the convenience of being seen by the right professional in a more timely way.

‘The expansion of the programme today is great news for everyone.’

As well as prescribing, the clinical pharmacists undertake medicine reviews, help manage discharge of people from hospitals to make sure they are taking the right medicines in the right dose and identify patients who might need ongoing support to stay safe and well, NHS England said.