The Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) could be used to fund pharmacists to spend time as designated prescribing practitioners (DPPs), NHS England has announced.

Speaking at the Clinical Pharmacy Congress in London today, Rebecca Burgoyne, chief pharmaceutical officer’s clinical fellow, announced a ‘new opportunity’ to use ARRS funding for pharmacy training roles.

She said under a new ‘direct patient care’ pathway introduced to the ARRS scheme – which can be used by primary care networks (PCNs) to claim the salaries of some general practice staff – funding could be used to ‘benefit’ the pharmacy workforce.

For example, she said funding could be used to ‘provide sessional time’ for ARRS pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, ‘to become educational supervisors or designated prescribing practitioners (DPPs)’.

PCNs could use the ‘direct patient care’ route – added to the scheme in 2024/25 and applicable to non-doctor and non-nursing roles – to apply to their integrated care board (ICB) for this funding for the year, added Ms Burgoyne.

The Pharmacist understands this funding can be used to either train an ARRS pharmacist to become a DPP or to spend time as a DPP and that further guidance will be published next week.

In addition, the route could also be used to appoint pre-registration pharmacy technician trainees via an apprenticeship, she said.

And it could be used to fund educational supervisors for pharmacy technicians, NHSE senior professional advisor for pharmacy technician practice Liz Fidler added in a later session at the CPC event.

Also at the event, chief pharmaceutical officer David Webb announced that NHS England will be funding new roles to build local relationships between community pharmacy and general practice.

The roles will be funded from 1 April 2024 until 31 March 2025.

They are intended to help ensure ‘high quality and appropriate referrals from general practice to community pharmacy and to help troubleshoot any issues’, according to slides shared at the event.

And the role will be ‘critical in shaping the engagement between community pharmacy and the PCN, providing channels of engagement and facilitating partnerships to support integrated clinical pathways for patients.

And he confirmed that NHSE funded training for the existing pharmacist workforce to train as independent prescribers would continue this year.