Clinical Pharmacy and Paramedics in primary care

“My key responsibilities are currently split between patient-facing roles and improving medicines management processes within the practice.” – *Nicky O’Brian had 20 years’ experience as a pharmacist mainly in secondary care until she moved to working full time as a senior clinical pharmacist in primary care.

It is widely acknowledged that there is a shortage of suitably skilled clinicians to support primary care delivery, NHS England and NHS Improvement, along with Health Education England have come up with two innovative solutions to help tackle the issue.

The Primary Care Pharmacy Education Pathway (PCPEP), a programme to recruit and train an even spread of pharmacists aligning to Primary Care Networks (PCNs) nationally and the Paramedics in Primary Care (PiPC) programme, for paramedics wishing to develop into primary care Advanced Clinical Practitioners have recently been launched.

Newly qualified or experienced paramedics are given the appropriate time off their regular duties to undertake PiPC on a self-funded basis to enable them to work in Primary Care as Advanced Clincal Practitioners. The 18-month PCPEP training pathway equips clinical pharmacists with the necessary knowledge, skills and experience also to work across primary care as part of a multidisciplinary team in a patient-facing role.

“I knew that I wanted to keep on working and keep improving my skills, keep improving my knowledge to help my patients more and the fact that I can do that I can do that in such a varied setting as the primary care master has allowed me to do is really exciting to me.”  Gabriella Salmon, Paramedic.

PCPEP has to date successfully enrolled two cohorts, with cohort three starting in May 2020. The first cohort saw the largest enrolment numbers onto a clinical pharmacy pathway, with 228 pharmacists joining across England. January increased on this further, filling all 400 places. PiPC enrolled 25 trainees from October 2019 in two regions, Bristol, North Somerset and Gloucestershire, and Devon and Cornwall.

Nicky O’Brian says: “I have been able to apply skills gained through consultation workshops in practice to achieve a more patient-centered approach.”

*Nicky O’Brian completed the CPGP Clinical Pharmacy in General Practice (CPGP) pathway. PCPEP has been created by merging the previous CPGP and Care Homes pathways.