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More than 400 pharmacists recruited to GP surgeries by next year

NHS England has more than doubled the funding available for its pilot getting clinical pharmacists in general practice, from £15m to £31m, meaning nearly 700 practices will receive the funding and more than 400 pharmacists will be recruited.

A total of 73 applications have successfully won a share of the funding for the three-year scheme, which will cover 698 GP practices, including 83 in London, 230 in the south of England, 183 in the Midlands and 203 in the North (see the full list here).

Recruitment of pharmacists for the three year initiative, which was announced in July, will begin immediately, giving patients the additional support of an expert pharmacist in their GP surgery from Spring 2016.

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive said: “Joint working between pharmacists and GPs has the potential to have major benefits for both patients and clinical professionals. This pilot will be a win-win for GPs, pharmacists and patients.

Health Education England will support the initiative by delivering the education and training programme through their national delivery partner Centre for Postgraduate Pharmacy Education.

In response to the announcement, Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The feedback that we have received from our members who already have a practice based pharmacist is that they play an invaluable role, so we are pleased that NHS England has taken the idea so seriously and so swiftly brought it to fruition.

“There is a long way to go to solve the workforce crisis in general practice and creating new roles, such as practice-based pharmacists, is just one of the steps in our 10 point plan to build the general practice workforce, launched earlier this year with NHS England, Health Education England, and the BMA. We now need to do everything we can to 'recruit retain return' as many GPs as possible so that our profession can continue to deliver the care our patients need and deserve,” she added.