NHS England’s deputy chief pharmaceutical officer Bruce Warner has explained why NHS England needs ‘young pharmacists’ to shape the future of the healthcare workforce.

The ‘expectations of and opportunities for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to support patients and their safe and effective use of medicines have never been greater’, he said in a blog on NHS England's website.

He continued: ‘It’s essential that our future pharmacy leaders help shape this by responding to the NHS workforce consultation. 

‘I’ve been a pharmacist for more years than I care to remember, and in that time the practice of pharmacy has changed dramatically. When I qualified, people went into community or hospital practice, with a few venturing into industry or academia.

‘Now, as with other healthcare professions, there is a multitude of other options and career paths for pharmacists, which can only be a good thing.

‘The rise of pharmacists in general practice, care homes, urgent and emergency care settings, CCGs and many others has meant that the demands on pharmacists’ skills are now much more varied.’

Meeting future needs

In its consultation document, Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future, Health Education England (HEE) argues that ‘social care and health make up the largest workforce in the country, by comprising 13% of all jobs, yet there is no national strategy for recruiting, training and supporting them for over two decades’.

The document is ‘an opportunity for pharmacy professionals to shape that future, though providing views on undergraduate curricula and training, pre-registration training, post-registration foundation training, advanced practitioner training, and consultant pharmacist roles, as well as career paths and progression’, said Mr Warner.

Changing role


He continued: ‘In many cases, pharmacists are now being asked to do patient facing work traditionally done by doctors.

‘With that comes a changing requirement for training and demonstration of competence.

‘And while undergraduate curricula and delivery methods are unrecognisable compared with my days at university, there is still much more to do in terms of making sure our pharmacy workforce is fit for purpose as roles and demands continue to change,’ added Mr Warner.