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Primary care

Primary care networks given more time to transition GP pharmacists

GP pharmacists, funded by NHS England’s clinical pharmacist scheme, have been given an extra two months to start working in primary care networks (PCNs).

NHS England has written to clinical commissioning groups saying that the deadline by which pharmacists working under the clinical pharmacists in general practice scheme have to transition to working in PCNs has been extended from 30 September 2019 to 30 November 2019.

The transition between the two funding arrangements requires clinical pharmacists to have started working as part of the PCN team and to have met their job requirements — outlined in the network contract directed enhanced service specification — by the deadline.

The specification outlines seven “key responsibilities” for pharmacists in PCNs, including prescribing and providing “specialist expertise in the use of medicines”.

However, NHS England said that it had been made aware of several PCNs where the 30 September 2019 transition deadline was not met. As a result, it extended the deadline because of the importance of having pharmacists as part of the PCN team.

It added that the extension will give PCNs more time to finalise the transition from one scheme to the other, rather than allowing more pharmacists time to decide whether or not to transition.

According to NHS England’s ‘Additional roles reimbursement’ guidance, after this deadline, pharmacists will no longer be able to change schemes and will not be counted as an exception to the PCN’s baseline workforce numbers.

This means these pharmacists will need to be maintained by PCNs as they will not be eligible for the 70% reimbursement through the additional roles reimbursement scheme.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207269

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