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  • Number of clinical pharmacists expected to work in PCNs rises to 7,500 by 2023/2024

    The number of clinical pharmacists needed to work in the new Primary Care Networks (PCNs) in England by 2023/2024 could be as high as 7,500, according to London GP representatives.

    This figure is noticeably higher than the 6,000 clinical pharmacists predicted by the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) in February 2019, which triggered concerns from pharmacy organisations about the impact it would have on recruitment across the sectors.

    The Londonwide Local Medical Committees (LMC) — an organisation representing GPs across London — told The Pharmaceutical Journal that its calculation, which appeared in a March 2019 briefing on the GP contract, was based on having the maximum number of six clinical pharmacists within each PCN.

    The calculation is supported by an NHS England briefing document, published in June 2019, in which the national body said it also expects that “by 2023/2024, a typical PCN … could choose to have its own team of approximately six whole-time equivalent clinical pharmacists”.

    As of 1 July 2019, 1,259 PCNs became operational across England, confirming the demand for up to 7,500 clinical pharmacists.

    Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the CCA, told The Pharmaceutical Journal on 12 September 2019 that he was not confident that there were enough existing pharmacists or others in training to meet the predicted demand.

    Claire Anderson, chair of the English Pharmacy Board at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said there needed to be a properly funded strategy to support the recruitment, training and education needed to deliver NHS England’s NHS long-term plan, which includes the development of PCNs.



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