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Championing training

The newly established NHS Long Term Workforce Plan sees the Government back plans to invest over £2.4 billion to fund additional education and training places.

The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, published 30 June, has set out how the NHS will address existing vacancies, aiming to recruit and retain hundreds of thousands more staff over the next 15 years. 

Crucially, the Government have backed the plan with over £2.4 billion set to be used to fund education and training places over five years. The NHS claims the Plan could mean the health service has at least an extra 60,000 doctors, 170,000 more nurses and 71,000 more allied health professionals in place by 2036/37.

By 2031 alone, the Plan aims to: 

  • Double medical school training places to 15,000 
  • Increase the number of GP training places by 50 per cent to 6,000 
  • Almost double the number of adult nurse training places with 24,000 more nurse and midwife training places a year.

What does this mean for pharmacy? 

Alongside ambitions to increase training places for pharmacist by nearly 50 per cent by 2031/32, the Plan also calls for continued growth of the pharmacy technician workforce. As of yet there are, however, no specific commitments but “potential” to continue expanding training via the apprenticeship route, according to the NHS. 

“Pharmacy leaders have been united in calling for the workforce plan to cover the whole of pharmacy and it is welcome to see this reflected today,” said Erutase Oputu, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in England. “Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and wider pharmacy teams will be crucial to reducing health inequalities and supporting the health service of the future so that patients can continue to access the medicines and care they need.”

“The Plan is a major milestone and an achievement for all who have campaigned and worked towards this,” added Nicola Stockmann, vice president of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK). “The delivery through key enablers identified in the plan and how it is subsequently followed up will be essential for long-term benefits for patients, pharmacy technicians and the entire pharmacy workforce.” 

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