GP Practices Now Eligible for Pharmacist Training Funding
General practitioner (GP) practices and primary care networks (PCNs) will soon be able to hire pharmacist trainees and access the NHS England (NHSE) pharmacist training grant from 2025. Although some GP practices and PCNs have previously hosted pharmacist trainees as part of their placements, this was under a memorandum of understanding with community and hospital pharmacy employers.
In a recent webinar hosted by the Primary Care Pharmacy Association (PCPA), NHSE representatives announced that GP practices and PCNs would now be considered a pharmacist “patient-facing setting.” This designation allows them to become the primary employer for pharmacist trainees in accordance with General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) requirements.
GP practices and PCNs will receive £26,500 per training post
Under newly harmonised funding arrangements outlined by NHSE, GP practices and PCNs will receive £26,500 per training post to support training and employment costs. They will also have access to an NHSE-funded training course. Community and hospital pharmacy employers will be eligible for the same funding, along with health and justice settings designated as patient-facing.
To employ pharmacist trainees, GP practices and PCNs must upload their training programs and plans for meeting training requirements to ORIEL, NHSE’s recruitment platform, by 1 March.
Graham Stretch, the PCPA president and a pharmacist GP partner, expressed his optimism about these changes, considering them a significant step forward for the sector. He emphasised the importance of the pharmacy profession working collaboratively to meet training requirements, including access to a designated prescribing practitioner (DPP) and dispensary, even before multi-sector placements become mandatory in 2026.
Mr. Stretch highlighted the potential for PCNs to act as the lead employer and second their employed trainees to various healthcare sites, including GP practices, community pharmacies, and hospitals. This approach could further enhance integration and strengthen community pharmacy’s role within PCN networks.
Response from GPhC
The PCPA also shared a response from GPhC Chief Executive Duncan Rudkin, affirming that general practice and primary care networks should be regarded as patient-facing, allowing them to serve as the “lead employer” for Foundation Training purposes.
This development is seen as a positive step toward expanding the role of pharmacists and promoting integration within the healthcare sector.
Depending on your choices, you can earn significantly more pay and have more flexibility than you could ever dream of when training to become a GP. If you plan properly and choose what really interests you, you can build a long and lasting career – and remember, it is not ‘one size fits all’. None of these options are the best option, and you need to experience a few to find out what will work for you.