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What is the Primary Care Pharmacy Education Pathway (PCPEP)?

The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) is commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) to deliver PCPEP

The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) is commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) to deliver PCPEP to meet the education requirements of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians as described in the primary care Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service (DES) in the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) roles. 

The pathway

All pharmacists and pharmacy technicians employed in a primary care network ARRS role must enrol on the CPPE training pathway. NHS England’s vision for pharmacy technicians is to move from process and technical roles, traditionally undertaken by pharmacy technicians, to more clinical and patient-facing roles. The pathway gives pharmacy technicians the support to progress in their clinical roles and improve medicines optimisation.  

The pathway for pharmacy technicians is a 15-month workplace-based vocational training programme. It has been developed to equip them with the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to meet the roles and responsibilities set out in the Network Contract DES and embed their role within primary care. 

It enables pharmacy technicians to become patient-facing and person-centred practitioners integrated into the multidisciplinary team, with the aim of improving patient access to primary care and empowering patients to achieve optimal health and wellbeing. 

The pathway equips them to support structured medication reviews, run practice clinics, complete quality improvement projects and more.

Since January 2021, over 1,100 pharmacy technicians have enrolled on or completed the pathway. 

What is covered on the pathway?

Module 1

Module 1 covers primary care essentials, including an extensive list of topics such as covert administration, working with care homes, transfer of care, medicines reconciliation, shared decision making, and consultations skills. The pathway uses a spiral curriculum, so many of the topics in this first module form the underpinning knowledge, which we build on throughout the course.

Module 2

Module 2 covers clinical knowledge and its application in primary care. We focus on building clinical knowledge across therapeutic topics seen in primary care and applying that learning in a person-centred, holistic way. 

Module 3

Module 3 introduces pharmacy technicians to clinical history-taking and clinical assessment skills. We cover a range of skills such as manual blood pressure, pulse oximetry, heart rate and temperature.

Module 4

Module 4 is all about leadership, where pharmacy technicians learn more about themselves as leaders as well as leading teams. Participants undertake a quality-improvement project and are encouraged to publish or present their work on national platforms. 

Module 5

Module 5 supports growth and allows flexibility so pharmacy technicians can tailor the learning according to their personal development plan. Topics covered in this module include mental health and wellbeing, developing presentation and facilitation skills, shared decision making, biochemistry and remote consultations.

This pathway provides a unique opportunity for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists to learn alongside one another, to better understand each other’s roles and work more effectively together for the benefit of patients.

Find out more here.

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