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Since 2019, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan pharmacists have been working in general practice settings where they can be employed directly by a GP practice or via the Primary Care Network (PCN). Funding for pharmacists employed in general practice can be accessed through the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS).

Pharmacists in general practice provide support in delivering clinical services, this includes:

  • ensuring that patients are getting the best out of their medicines through effective patient education

  • carrying out holistic and comprehensive structured medication reviews using shared decision making and a patient centred approach

  • management of Long-Term Conditions (LTC) including asthma, COPD, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease (CKD)

  • management of polypharmacy, particularly in older patients and those living with frailty

  • working as part of the wider MDT to manage complex patients

  • reducing medication related harms and admission avoidance by identifying and managing inappropriate prescribing

Pharmacists provide support in effective medicines management which includes:

  • developing efficient and safe processes to manage acute prescription requests and repeat medications

  • oversight of high-risk drug monitoring

  • medication related audits

  • management of MHRA Drug Alerts

  • management of medicines that are out of stock

  • reducing medication waste due to oversupply or inappropriate medication requests

  • reducing the environmental impact of medicines

  • effective medicines reconciliation at point of transfer of care such as hospital discharge

Pharmacists provide leadership and support the practice in training and education related to safer, evidence-based and cost-effective prescribing by:

  • championing Antimicrobial Stewardship

  • providing accurate and evidence-based advice on prescribing best practice

  • advising on cost-effective recommendations and encouraging adherence to NCL formulary choices

  • providing therapeutic updates particularly when new medicines or treatments become available

  • providing clinical supervision to other clinical staff

  • acting as a role model and mentor

By employing pharmacists, many GP practices have: 

  • improved access to appointments 

  • reduced medication related harms and A&E admissions

  • improved screenings and diagnosis of chronic and common conditions

  • improved patient outcomes through medicines optimisation, effective medication monitoring and, timely and holistic medication reviews

  • reduced risks associated with transfer of care between healthcare settings

  • reduced medication costs

Watch the video below to find out more about the role and background of a pharmacist working in general practice.

Training and Development

Pharmacists employed in general practice through the ARRS are required to be enrolled onto a mandatory training pathway called the Primary Care Pharmacy Education Pathway (PCPEP) provided through the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE). This prepares the pharmacist to work effectively in a primary care setting.

  • The PCPEP provides all pharmacists with the opportunity to be part of a professional clinical network

  • Pharmacists should be clinically supervised by a senior pharmacist as well as a GP clinical supervisor

  • Independent Prescribing qualification is in addition to the training pathway and is usually completed following completion of the PCPEP


Pharmacy degree (MPharm) and registration as a pharmacist with the General Pharmaceutical Council or the equivalent regulatory authority in your home country.

Course overview:

  • 18-month pathway, including 28 days dedicated study days

  • Pharmacists receive a statement of assessment & progression (SOAP) on completion of the pathway

  • No placement is required as the pharmacist will be employed within primary care whilst completing the PCPEP

Benefits to patients, PCNs and the wider NHS

Benefits to patients:

Patients often get to consult with pharmacists for longer than a GP, e.g. 15–30 minutes, which they appreciate. This is of particularly value when managing LTCs such as diabetes where a multifactorial, holistic approach is required.

  • Medications are checked regularly and are appropriate for patients’ conditions. This reduces the likelihood of conditions worsening or leading to other complications and side effects that result in a future need for acute care. Ultimately, this improves wellbeing and quality of life for the patients

  • Reduced medication related harms due to efficient high-risk drug monitoring and effective management of potentially inappropriate medication (PIMs). This is particularly significant for older patients who are more vulnerable to medication effects

  • All prescribers in the practice can learn from the pharmacist and therefore use increasing medicines knowledge and expertise to improve patient treatment

Benefits to PCNs:

  • GPs no longer carry out the activities that pharmacists can carry out instead,

  • Pharmacists support the achievement of QOF and IIF indicators, local prescribing targets and quality improvement projects

  • Improvements in patient safety. Changes in prescribing practice that can be implemented across the PCN e.g. MHRA alerts where a drug is withdrawn or indications change

  • Considerable savings can be made by improving prescribing processes across all prescribing staff

  • Pharmacists forge closer links with community pharmacy and improve patient advice/signposting. All prescribers in the practice learn from the clinical pharmacist and therefore increase their own knowledge when consulting with and treating patients

  • Patient access increases as patients consult with the pharmacist rather than the GP for medication needs and advice

Benefits to the wider NHS:

  • Closer monitoring and management of patient medicines improves their care, wellbeing, and their ability to self-care and manage their own conditions. This reduces avoidable urgent or emergency hospital attendances specifically related to deterioration in LTCs and medicine-related harm

  • Closer MDT working and interprofessional networks improves patient outcomes, particularly in the management of LTCs, older patients and those living with frailty

  • Improved care at the point of transfer between care settings due to better interface working

  • Promotion of public health initiatives such as Live Well

Please use the attached recruitment pack and adapt it for your requirements.

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NCL's Pharmacy workforce can access the NCL Primary Care Pharmacy Network, which provides peer to peer support for those working in primary care organisations across NCL.

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