Up to 10,000 community pharmacists are expected to benefit from a £2m training package in clinical skills announced by Health Education England (HEE).

Education and training providers are being sought to deliver the training which will include modules in dermatology, cardiology, ear nose and throat and paediatric care.

All community pharmacists working to support delivery of NHS funded services, including locum and part-time pharmacists, are eligible for the training, which may be conducted in person and online.

Pharmacists will have to initially complete training in history taking and identification of serious conditions before being assessed and allowed to move on to training in specific disciplines. Independent prescribers will be able to move straight to the assessment stage.

The specific modules in the training for community pharmacists include:

  • Dermatology – covering wound care, rashes, common skin conditions, moles and suspected skin cancer.
  • Cardiology – covering cardiovascular conditions such as blood pressure, heart rate and pulse oximeter assessments.
  • Ear, nose and throat (ENT) – covering common and serious conditions and anti-microbial resistance.
  • Paediatrics – covering fevers, coughs, diarrhoea and vomiting and how to spot signs of serious illness.

Each module will be assessed, with a completion certificate awarded if the candidate passes.

It is hoped that training will get under way in December 2022 and completed by March 2024.

Dr Matt Aiello, national programmes lead, education reform at Health Education England said that the training programme will provide 'enhanced clinical services' for pharmacists as patients and other health professionals become increasingly reliant on the clinical knowledge and skills of the pharmacy profession.

'The expansion of clinical skills training to community pharmacists will enable the transformation of the pharmacy workforce to support pharmacists to deliver a wider range of clinical services as part of cross-sector, multi-professional teams, working to deliver joined-up, integrated patient care pathways.'

Louise Baglole, director of professional services at National Pharmacy Association (NPA), welcomed the training programme which she said would 'support the safe and effective provision of NHS services'.

She added: 'As a major provider of learning and development ourselves, we know there is a direct line from investment in skills to improved patient care.'

The closing date for suppliers to bid for the training contract is 30 August 2022.

This comes after Health Education England (HEE) has promised to offer training to support the policy change of pharmacists, nurses, occupational therapists who are now able to sign off fit notes under new legislation.