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Pharmacists and technicians should reap benefits of NHS leadership programme

Health Education England (HEE) welcomes the attention placed on the Mary Seacole leadership programme in Hemant Patel’s ‘A message to Keith Ridge: unrealistic expectations are not the way forward’, and we are pleased to see that he and his local pharmaceutical committee colleagues have applied to take part in the programme, and would encourage others to do the same.

We have engaged consistently with great energy and enthusiasm with community pharmacy colleagues across the country during 2018, and we are grateful for the support we have had from the national pharmacy organisations and many individuals in spreading the message about this great opportunity. Many people have taken the plunge and registered for the programme, which has been tailored specifically for community pharmacy, and our evaluation shows they are reaping the benefits within their current workplace and beyond.

Our messaging has been clear all along: pharmacy is changing. Community pharmacy professionals are increasingly working with peers from hospital, the clinical commissioning group or mental health, as well as colleagues from the wider primary care team across a patch. This requires the ability to build trusting relationships, agree shared goals, and get the best from your team and colleagues across organisational and professional boundaries. These are the leadership skills on offer from the NHS Mary Seacole Leadership programme, which is being offered as a funded pilot to the community pharmacy profession for the first time from October 2017 to March 2019.

The evaluation, to date, is overwhelmingly positive. The pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who have completed the course have reported a considerable positive impact on patient services and care. They have more time available for patients (as systems are more streamlined); better communication skills, enabling them to speak to patients as individuals and partners and in their own language; and the confidence and ability to develop new NHS services.

This is a tremendous opportunity for community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to get ready for new ways of working and to grow in confidence in the process. Funded training is open until March 2019, so there is a small window of opportunity left to benefit from this funded offer. The course is delivered by the NHS Leadership Academy working with Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE). More information is available on the CPPE website: 

I would encourage all community pharmacy professionals to take up this fantastic opportunity.

Christopher Cutts, pharmacy dean, School of Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation (North), Health Education England

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205894

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