November Blog: Pharmacy Integration Fund

Update: Pharmacy Integration Fund

NHS England set up the Pharmacy Integration Fund (PhIF) in October 2016 in a bid to open up workstreams and opportunities for pharmacists. The aim of the fund was to drive greater use of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in new, integrated care models and integrate and support the development of clinical pharmacy practice in a wider range of primary care settings. In essence the idea was to create a more effective NHS primary care patient pathway.

The programmes outlined below also provide great opportunities for pharmacists to develop their professional skills and knowledge. In some instances, it’s possible to gain academic qualifications. Also, there will be no shortage of CPD cycles to undertake, which will help with GPhC revalidation. Probably, more importantly, you will be helping to build the evidence base for better integration of community pharmacy with the wider NHS.

Workforce Education and Development – All pharmacists working two or more days per week in a community pharmacy can access free accredited training (post-registration training and development). The modules include clinical topics, medicines optimisation, quality improvement and therapeutics. Community pharmacists can complete a single module (typically equivalent to 15 or 20 credits) or up to 60 credits during a year and gain a Post Graduate Certificate. The LPC is working with De Montfort University (DMU) to coordinate this programme for community pharmacists in Derbyshire and the focus will be on quality improvement around the public health agenda, fitting in with the development of Healthy Living Pharmacies (HLPs).

Leadership Development – Community pharmacists and technicians can apply for the Mary Seacole Leadership programme, which is an NHS-led flagship programme designed to develop leadership and management skills. CPPE is working in collaboration with the NHS Leadership Academy to offer the programme and participant feedback has been very positive. Successful completion will support the drive for quality services in community pharmacy and really make a difference to patient’s health and wellbeing.

Medicines Optimisation in Care Homes (MOCH) – the MOCH programme was launched in March 2018 and focuses on care home residents, across all types of care home settings and aims to deploy dedicated clinical pharmacy teams. Funding was successfully applied for and implementation is currently underway. In Derbyshire the project is being organised at Sustainability Transformation Partnership level, known locally as Joined Up Care Derbyshire.

Integrated Urgent Care (IUC) – previous pilot work has shown pharmacists can add value to the clinical skill mix working within the IUC hub, completing calls and providing self-care advice across a range of calls that involve the use of medicines. Pharmacists recruited to these positions tend to work two shifts a week – training and support is provided to help integrate with the multi-disciplinary team at the hub.

National Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS) – was commissioned as an Advanced Service, initially from 1st December 2016 to 31st March 2018, but recently extended until the end of March 2019. There is now a requirement to check and use the patient’s Summary Care Record, unless there is a good reason not to. Latest information is that more requests for emergency supply of medicines are handled by NUMSAS rather than Out of Hours (OOH) Services.

Digital Minor Illness Referral Scheme (DMIRS) – based on a pilot study in the North East where NHS 111 call handlers could refer patients requiring advice and/or treatment for low acuity conditions to community pharmacists. The pilot has now been extended to include the area covered by Derbyshire Health United (DHU). Sign up to the service is through the NHS Business Services Authority website. In the North East 75% of pharmacies signed up, so we need at least 160 pharmacies in Derbyshire to do the same.

 Digital Developments – the fund has been used to support work, which has been led by NHS Digital (e.g. messaging and transfer of care data between settings, supporting the uptake of NHSmail by community pharmacists and supporting the roll out of the EPS tracker by NHS 111 and IUC hubs).

Pharmacist in General Practice – The roll out of pharmacists in general practice, funded by NHS England, started prior to the establishment of the PhIF, but it has been used to fund education and development for the pharmacists and an evaluation of the programme