Health Education England will be funding 10,000 places for clinical examination skills training, launching in 2022, it has said.

Nick Haddington, Pharmacy Dean at Health Education England said that the training offer would ‘support the transformation of the pharmacy workforce to deliver clinical services in community pharmacy.’

The training will be offered post-registration to community pharmacists across England and will be launched by the end of this year. Pharmacists will be able to tailor the programme to their personal or professional interests.

The training will include an initial, compulsory module on history taking and identification of serious conditions, which will be available online only as a self-directed programme. Mr Haddington said that the module demonstrate a pharmacist’s ability to rule out major illnesses and make appropriate onward referrals.

Pharmacists will also be able to choose a specialist module in dermatology, cardiology, paediatrics, or ear, nose and throat (ENT). Mr Haddington said that the content of these modules would be delivered flexibly, ‘to meet the needs of community pharmacists’, and will end with an assessment and a certificate of completion upon passing.

He added that:

  • The dermatology module will include wound care, identification and management of rashes, common skin conditions, identification of serious rashes, moles and suspected skin cancer.
  • The cardiology module will include history taking and assessments to identify common cardiovascular conditions, including blood pressure, heart rate and pulse oximeter assessments; managing acute chest pain; common side effects of frequently prescribed cardiovascular medicines.
  • The ENT module will teach pharmacists about common ENT conditions; how to spot potentially serious ENT conditions; examination of head, neck, throat and nose; otoscope inspection of ears; treatments for self-care of common ENT conditions; and antimicrobial resistance.
  • The paediatric module will teach pharmacists how to identify and manage common acute presentations in children — such as fever, cough, diarrhoea and vomiting — and how to spot signs of serious illness in babies and children. It will include care of common chronic conditions and self-care advice for looking after a sick child.

HEE has said that it will fund the cost of the training, and that community pharmacists can register their interest online.

Last month, the deputy chief pharmaceutical officer for England spoke about the need to guard against a ‘two-tier’ profession with all newly qualified pharmacists graduating as independent prescribers from 2026.