GP practices have been given more time to transfer clinical pharmacists into Primary Care Networks (PCNs), if they want to.
The original deadline was September 30 but this has now been extended to the end of November.
This is to allow people more time to finalise the arrangements where a transition has been or was in the process of being agreed.
After this date, any clinical pharmacists who have not transitioned to work as part of the PCN workforce delivering the duties outlined in the Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service (DES) will no longer be eligible to do so, and will be counted in the PCN staff baseline.
The BMA has welcomed the delay saying it is ‘the system being flexible’.
A spokesperson added: ’Where [practices] want to, they will be able to move from the 60/40/20 funding in the previous scheme to the 70% recurrent funding in the new PCN DES.’
Pharmacists previously employed under the clinical pharmacist in general practice scheme funded by NHS England can be transferred to work under the PCN DES as part of GP contract reforms.
Under the new contract, NHS England is providing every PCN with 70% of funding for a new pharmacist in a bid to recruit 7,000 pharmacists by 2023/24.
Over the next five years, an extra £1.8 billion is being invested in PCNs, including £891 to recruit 20,000 more healthcare professional to support GPs, including pharmacists.
However, a report by the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has warned that networks may have to contribute more than 30% because NHS England has underestimated how much it costs to employ pharmacists with the requisite experience.
There are also concerns that some areas of the country will struggle to recruit additional primary care staff, particularly clinical pharmacists.
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