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Wales attempts to boost pharmacy workforce

Welsh government launches new campaign to attract more pharmacists and £3.6m more for to train them

Ingrid Torjesen

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

The Welsh government is taking action to ensure Wales has a sustainable, appropriately trained pharmacist workforce as their role in delivering healthcare expands.

It has launched a campaign to promote Wales as a “top choice” location for pharmacists to train, work and live, and health minister, Vaughan Gething, has announced an extra £3.6m in 2020/21, rising to £4.9m by 2023/24, to transform the way pharmacists are trained in Wales. The money will almost double the number of training places from around 100 each year now to 200 by August 2023.


In a UK first, all trainees will be employed and trained by the NHS regardless of whether they complete the majority of their training in a community pharmacy, a hospital or a GP practice. 

Mr Gething said that pharmacists were playing an increasingly important role in the delivery of health care.

“We have made great strides in Wales with pharmacists providing advice and treatment, reducing the burden on our GPs. As demand for their clinical skills increase we must ensure we are able to a train sufficient number of pharmacists to meet the needs of the NHS in Wales in all sectors of pharmacy practice. This is new unique and distinctive approach to training will meet the growing expectations of UK pharmacy graduates and the long-term needs of the NHS in Wales,” he said.

“This investment sends a clear signal that Wales is a great place for pharmacists to train work and live.”

The Welsh government has also launched a UK-wide Train, Work, Live, campaign which will target pharmacy students who are currently deciding where to undertake their pre-registration training. The campaign highlights the benefits of training in Wales, its UK-first wholly multi-sector training programme, and the breadth of pharmacy roles available in Wales.

Andrew Evans, chief pharmaceutical officer for Wales, said: “We want trainees to know that Wales is a fabulous place to do their training with consistently high pass rates in the pre-registration examination and we want to attract the highest calibre of pharmacy graduates. Pharmacists who choose to come to Wales, can benefit from a well-integrated healthcare system, facilitating knowledge sharing and innovation across a wide range of settings, allowing us to give our patients the best care possible.

“Healthcare professionals in Wales also benefit from a great work-life balance, continuous professional support, affordable housing and lots of choice for their leisure time. And our new training programme will ensure that pharmacists have the appropriate skills both to deliver clinical services and to work flexibly between hospitals, GP practices, community pharmacies and other settings where pharmacy professionals can improve the safety and quality of medicines use.”

Suzanne Scott-Thomas, chair of the Welsh Pharmacy Board, said: “Increasing the number of training places and transforming the training of trainee pharmacists prior to registration is a very positive step forward for the NHS and patients in Wales. More pharmacists are now needed to meet the increasing demand from patients and to realise the aspirations of multi-professional approaches to care delivery.”

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