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Practices invited to bid for £112m clinical pharmacist scheme from next month

GP practices have been invited to submit bids for funding to employ a clinical pharmacist from next month as NHS England officially launched the £112m scheme.

The scheme – as pledged in the GP Forward View – will be open for submissions from 9 January.

The fund will support practices to employ 1,500 more clinical pharmacists across England, and follows a hugely oversubscribed pilot that has already recruited 490 pharmacists working across 650 practices.

NHS England said the pilots had shown having access to pharmacists’ expertise improved prescribing and medicines management, and freed up GP time for patients with more complex needs.

Keith Ridge, chief pharmaceutical officer for England added: ‘The success of the initial pilots has shown the benefits of having more clinical pharmacists in general practice, reducing GP workload and helping ensure patients are seen by the right professional in a more convenient and timely way.’

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the RCGP, said the College was ‘delighted’ the scheme was being expanded, and said: ‘Practice-based pharmacists are playing an increasingly vital role within some GP-led multi-disciplinary teams, carrying out tasks, such as medication reviews and managing repeat prescriptions.

‘This helps cut waiting times for patients by freeing up GPs’ time for patients who really need our clinical expertise.’

The expansion of the scheme builds on Jeremy Hunt’s ‘new deal’ commitment to recruit 5,000 allied health professionals by 2020/21 to help alleviate GP workforce pressures.

NHS England told Pulse it had not decided when applications would have to be completed by, but this would be made clear on launch next month.