Health Education England News

16 Mar 2023

New clinical examination skills training for community pharmacists launched

A new, flexible NHS-funded training offer is being launched in March to further support the clinical role of community pharmacists in NHS primary care services and improve access to patient care.

Pharmacists across England will have the opportunity to build on their existing clinical examination and consultation skills - to assess, treat and manage common health problems.

The training offers a range of clinical skills modules, with the aim of supplementing the existing clinical skills of community pharmacists to deal with a variety of presenting symptoms. It is designed to be complementary to independent prescribing training and can be completed prior to or after independent prescribing training courses.

It comes as people increasingly choose to visit community pharmacy for clinical care from a pharmacist which is provided through services such as the NHS Blood Pressure Check Service for the over-40s and NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service involving referrals from general practice and urgent and emergency care settings.

The offer of 10,000 module places, co-ordinated by Health Education England (HEE) with the Pharmacy Integration Programme at NHS England, will be delivered by CliniSkills (Clinical Skills Training Ltd) until March 2024.

Following completion of a pre-required, online gateway module on history taking and identification of serious conditions, pharmacists can choose their preferred journey through four optional modules, based on professional interests. These modules cover four key themes: dermatology, cardiology, paediatrics, and ear, nose and throat.

The module content will be delivered online using a flexible and responsive eLearning system, with optional face-to-face attendance for pharmacists who would find this beneficial. Pharmacists can complete the training at a pace and time of their choice. Face-to-face workshops will be scheduled to accommodate pharmacist working patterns.

To register and find out more about the training visit the CliniSkills website.

Further information can be found on the Health Education England website.

Alan Ryan, Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Health Education England, said:

“This new clinical examination skills training offer has been designed to directly support the training needs identified through engagement with community pharmacists and community pharmacy leaders, drawing on their experiences of the changing landscape of clinical activities in the community pharmacy setting.

“This training offers a focused range of clinical skills training modules that will increase the confidence of community pharmacists to manage the types of clinical cases that are increasingly presenting in the community pharmacy setting.”

David Webb, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at NHS England, said:

“I’m delighted we’re launching the next phase of the Pharmacy Integration Programme training and development for community pharmacists. It’s exciting to see how this is developing into specialist areas such as cardiology, which matches with our future plans.

“The offer of clinical examination skills training supports the clinical future and career progression for pharmacists, either as a skills’ refresh for existing prescribers who wish to extend their practice, or to help pharmacists support newly qualified prescribers, or as a step towards independent prescribing training.”

Professor John Marriott, CliniSkills, said:

“We are excited to be leading this significant educational programme to support the pharmacy workforce. We have a strong track record in the delivery of effective and engaging clinical education across healthcare disciplines. As experienced registered pharmacists we understand the needs of patients and the public, and the opportunities for the profession in the community workplace. In leading this initiative, we are delighted to contribute to the evolving roles of community pharmacists.”

Pharmacists undertake five years of initial education and training before registering to practice.

Pharmacist roles have evolved significantly in response to rapid changes in healthcare and pharmacy practice and the growing demand in the NHS for clinical, patient-facing, pharmacist practitioners across all sectors.

To help meet the changing demands of healthcare and patients, the NHS is equipping community pharmacists with the skills and knowledge to deliver safe clinical NHS services as part of primary healthcare teams. This will enable them to play a broader role in providing clinical care, benefiting patients and enhancing career progression.

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