A total of £40m has been set for the Pharmacy Integration Fund (PhIF) for 2018/19, according to NHS England.

NHS England told The Pharmacist that the PhIF is currently set to run until 2020/21, with £40m allocated for 2018/19 and future funding will be subject to review with each business planning cycle, it said.

The PhIF, which began in 2016, is a pot of funding designed to clinically integrate pharmacy within the wider NHS.

Workforce development projects

The 2018/19 fund will cover various workforce development projects including:

  • Recruitment and deployment of pharmacists in care homes
  • Deployment of pharmacists into NHS 111 and integrated urgent care settings
  • Deployment of clinical pharmacists into general practice
  • Clinical leadership skills training for community pharmacists – the Mary Seacole programme at the NHS Leadership Academy
  • Leadership and management training for pharmacy technicians
  • Post-registration training for pharmacists to expert practitioner level up to 60 academic credits
  • NHS urgent medicines supply pilot (NUMSAS)
  • Minor illness referral service project, which is locally commissioned in the North East
  • Medicines optimisation system leadership project
  • Evaluation of all projects

‘Greater use of pharmacists’

The programme is designed in line with priorities outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View (FYFV), including making more appropriate and far greater use of community pharmacies and pharmacists.

In December 2017, pharmacy minister Steve Brine wrote in a letter that the programme had already started to ‘demonstrate benefits, transforming the way health care service uses the skills of pharmacists’.

He said: ‘For example, between December 2016 and July 2017, 12,982 items were dispensed under the NUMSAS pilot by pharmacists, that would have previously needed an out of hours GP appointment, saving 6,500 GP appointments.’