The NHS is to recruit 42 community pharmacy clinical leads from April, one for each Integrated Care System, to help support the implementation of community pharmacy clinical services for patients.

Keith Ridge, who is stepping down from the role as England’s chief pharmaceutical officer this month, reportedly wrote to NHS regional directors outlining the recruitment plans.

In a Tweet, chief pharmaceutical officer for England David Webb said it was ‘great news’.

He said: ‘Great news, soon be recruiting 42 community pharmacy clinical leads at AfC 8c , one for each ICS, to further support implementation of community pharmacy clinical services for patients. We're hoping to attract really great candidates with in-depth knowledge & experience.’

Positive step towards integration

The Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) also welcomed the news.

A spokesperson for the CCA said: ‘It is a positive step towards the greater integration of community pharmacy care into the NHS. It is vital for the NHS that patients can benefit from the clinical services set out in the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework.’

However, the CCA warned that the changes should be supported by sustainable funding to increase workforce numbers in the sector.

‘We are concerned that without the funding and people in place, the desired volume of necessary services cannot be delivered, no matter how well coordinated,’ they said.

‘If workforce shortages and sustainable funding can be addressed, then these new roles must build on local relationships with pharmacy professionals and recognise specific local needs. Any local variation to support national processes risks adding further barriers to implementation. A key responsibility should be to share best practice across ICS organisations to support patients and systems that cross ICS boundaries.’

It comes after the NPA called for an urgent uplift to pharmacy funding as the cost pressures in community pharmacy have increased.