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General practice pharmacist roles only part-funded by GP Forward View

NHS chief Simon Stevens has announced that the NHS will earmark an extra £2.4 billion a year for general practice services by 2020/21. This is in contrast to £170 million cuts to funding for pharmacies in England and concerns that as many as 3,000 pharmacies could close.

Some of the new funding for GPs, outlined in the GP Forward View, will pay for part of NHS England’s plans to employ more pharmacists in GP practices. It is feared that the remainder of the funding for the new roles could come from the Pharmacy Integration Fund, something the RPS has warned against.

“We have been clear in our submission to NHS England that the Pharmacy Integration Fund should not be used to directly employ pharmacists in GP surgeries,” said an RPS statement.

NHS England has committed to enable every practice in England to access a pharmacist across a minimum population on average of 30,000 – leading to an extra 1,500 pharmacists in general practice over the next 5 years.

The NPA has said that sustained investment in local pharmacies would stand a much better chance at creating a world-class health service, than GP based pharmacists.

“Community pharmacies are a ready-made solution on the health service front line, close to where people live, work and shop. They are generally more accessible and convenient for patients than doctor surgeries,” said NPA chairman, Ian Strachan.

What’s new for GPs?

  • An extra £2.4 billion a year has been committed to support general practice services by 2020/21. This means spending will rise from £9.6 billion in 2016/17 to over £12 billion by 2021, a 14 per cent real terms increase.
  • 5,000 extra full time GPs in the next five years. As well as, 3,000 new fully funded practice-based mental health therapists and 1,500 co-funded practice clinical pharmacists.
  • Direct funding for improved in hours and out of hours access, including clinical hubs and reformed urgent care; and a new voluntary GP contract supporting integrated primary and community health services.
  • Streamline the Care Quality Commission inspection regime, support for GPs suffering from burnout and stress, cuts in red tape, legal limits on administrative burdens at the hospital/GP interface, and action to cut inappropriate demand on general practice.



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