Clinical pharmacists work as part of the general practice team within Primary Care Networks to improve value and outcomes from medicines and consult with and treat patients directly. This includes providing extra help to manage long-term conditions, advice for those on multiple medicines and better access to health checks. The role is pivotal to improving the quality of care and ensuring patient safety.
Having clinical pharmacists in GP practices means that GPs can focus their skills where they are most needed, for example on diagnosing and treating patients with more complex conditions. This helps GPs to manage the demands on their time. NHS England aspiration is for clinical pharmacists in primary care to become independent prescribers at the end of their primary care pharmacy education pathway, the mandated training programme for all Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) funded clinical pharmacists and technicians to undertake when commencing work in primary care.
Professionally qualified pharmacy technicians work alongside pharmacists to support their medicines optimisation activities such as advising GP practices on safe and effective prescribing processes, improving medicines safety e.g., checking blood monitoring has been undertaken, undertaking safety audits and improving a patient’s medicine regimen e.g. synchronising medication which in turn reduces waste. These are just a few examples of medicines optimisation activities undertaken.

  • CPPE pathway

CPPE (Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education) is commissioned by Health Education England to deliver training to pharmacy professionals working in primary care as part of the primary care Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service (DES). CPPE have developed the primary care pharmacy education pathway to align the education requirements of the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with the NHS Long Term Plan and the primary care Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service.
Primary care pharmacy education pathway : CPPE

It equip pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to work in various patient-facing roles in primary care networks as part of a multidisciplinary team. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are able to access a range of different study methods to suit different learning styles, a continuous assessment process and support from supervisors and peers. The pathway is 18-months for pharmacists and 15-months for pharmacy technicians.

  • IP

    In addition to the CPPE training pathway, pharmacists supported with the PCN additional role reimbursement scheme are expected to undertake independent prescribing (IP) training if they have not already completed this. The timing of this needs to be carefully managed to ensure the pharmacists have a solid foundation on which to build to become safe prescribers.

It is important that employers and pharmacists have a complete understanding of the competences of basic pharmacist training and the additional training and experience pharmacists require, before undertaking IP training. The CPPE pathway and the work experience provide solid foundations to build on with IP training so that pharmacists become competent, confident, and safe prescribers in a primary care setting.
Primary care pharmacy education pathway : CPPE

Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP) is delivered by experienced, registered health care practitioners. It is a level of practice characterised by a high degree of autonomy and complex decision making. This is underpinned by a master’s level award or equivalent that encompasses the four pillars of clinical practice, leadership and management, education, and research, with demonstration of area specific clinical competence. ACP’s come from a range of professional backgrounds such as Nursing, Pharmacy and Allied Health Professionals. The ACP Multi-Professional Framework provides a clear and consistent approach to the development of advanced clinical practice across England.

The HEE ACP Toolkit has further resources to support with the development of ACP roles.

What is advanced clinical practice? | Health Education England (

And any other relevant training or development opportunities. We will add in information about leadership development and CPD application process

The Surrey Heartlands Medicines Optimisation teams cover the four place-based areas: East Surrey, Guildford & Waverley, North West Surrey & Surrey Downs. Each place-base area holds Local Professional Network meetings which are multi-sector pharmacy meetings for learning and sharing of best practice. To add your name to the distribution list for invitations, please use the following generic e-mail dependent on which area you work in:

East Surrey:
Guildford &Waverley:
North west Surrey:
Surrey Downs:

Your place-based Medicines Optimisation Team is a valuable resource for primary care pharmacy workforce and can support in networking at a local level and across Surrey Heartlands. If you are new to the area, please make yourself known to your place-based Medicines Optimisation team using the generic e-mail address for the area you work in.


Medicines are the most common treatments offered to NHS patients. Pharmacy technicians work as part of a pharmacy team under the direction of a registered pharmacist.

Pharmacy technicians work as part of healthcare teams in hospitals, community pharmacies or within Primary Care.

The work includes:

  • Medicines management.
  • Manufacturing.
  • Aseptic dispensing.
  • Quality control.
  • Training and development.
  • Procurement.
  • Information technology.
  • Clinical trials.
  • Medicines information.
  • Supervision.
  • Management of staff.

    Primary care pharmacy education pathway from CPPE will be open to applications. Please pass this information on to any Pharmacy Technicians in your practices / PCNs. The link for further information is here:

To practise as a pharmacy technician you will be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), after completing an accredited qualification such as:

BTEC National Diploma in pharmaceutical science.
NVQ/SVQ level 3 in pharmacy services.
National Certificate in pharmaceutical science.
The entry requirements will vary depending on the course provider. However, as a guide, employers usually ask for at least 4 GCSEs (A-C), including English, maths and science or equivalent qualifications.

Showing an understanding of pharmacy and how it benefits patients, and spending some time with a registered pharmacist, to gain an understanding of the role will benefit you application.

Pharmacy technicians need to be:

  • Accurate and methodical.
  • Responsible.
  • Have ability to pay attention to detail.
  • Ready to refer to the pharmacist when necessary.
  • To have understanding of laws and guidelines on medicines.
  • Able to read and carry out instructions.
  • Interested in people’s health.
  • Willing to work with all types of people.
  • Able to explain clearly to members of the public.
  • Communication skills including listening.
  • Good customer skills.
  • Science skills.
  • Good dexterity skills
  • IT skills.
  • Organisation skills.
  • Training and development skills.
  • Training to become a pharmacy technician usually takes two years. It combines practical work experience with study, either at college or by distance learning.


  • Human physiology.
  • Disease management.
  • Actions and uses of medicine pharmacy manufacturing.
  • Pharmacy Law.

In order to practise in Great Britain, pharmacy technicians must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and have satisfied the Council’s detailed requirements. Registered pharmacy technicians have to keep their skills and knowledge up to date with annual continuing professional development (CPD).

Once qualified, many pharmacy technicians join the Association of Pharmacy Technicians (APTUK). The APTUK runs courses, conferences and seminars where pharmacists can exchange ideas and update their skills.

Pharmacy technicians working in the NHS will work standard hours of around 37.5 a week which may include shifts. Newly qualified pharmacy technicians will usually start in the NHS at band 4 of the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scale or equivalent.

Terms and conditions can vary for pharmacists outside of the NHS, including those working in high street and retail pharmacies or for other employer providers of NHS services.

With experience candidates could specialise in a particular area of practice such as mental health, oncology, paediatrics, medicines management, manufacturing, quality control, education and training, information technology, supplies & procurement, clinical trials or medicine information services.


«May 2022»