Clinical pharmacists work in primary care as part of a multidisciplinary team in a patient facing role to clinically assess and treat patients using expert knowledge of medicines for specific disease areas. They will be prescribers, or if not, can complete an independent prescribing qualification following completion of the 18- month Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) pathway. They work with and alongside the general practice team, taking responsibility for patients with chronic diseases and undertaking clinical medication reviews to proactively manage people with complex polypharmacy, especially for the elderly, people in care homes and those withmultiple comorbidities.

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  • Clinical Pharmacists employed through the Network Contract DES will need adequate training and experience. This can be gained by the 18-month Primary Care Pharmacy Education Pathway (PCPEP). This pathway equips the pharmacist to be able to practice and prescribe safely and effectively in a primary care setting.
  • All Clinical Pharmacists will be part of a professional clinical network and will always be clinically supervised by a senior Clinical Pharmacist and GP clinical supervisor.
  • Independent prescribing is in addition to the training pathway and will be completed following completion of the PCPEP.


  • Pharmacy degree and registration as a pharmacist with the General Pharmaceutical Council or the equivalent regulatory authority in your home country.

Length of course

  • 18-month pathway, including 28 days dedicated study days.
  • Learner receives a statement of assessment & progression on completion of the pathway.
  • No placement is required as the Clinical Pharmacist will be employed within primary care whilst completing the PCPEP.

Benefits to patients

  • Patients often get to consult with pharmacists for two or three times longer than a doctor due to current GP workload intensity, eg 20–30 minutes, which they appreciate.
  • Medications are checked regularly and are appropriate for patients’ conditions, and this improves wellbeing and quality of life if reviews have previously been too infrequent due to unmanageable GP and nurse workload. This reduces the likelihood of conditions worsening or leading to other complications and side effects that result in a future need for acute care.
  • All prescribers in the practice can learn from the clinical pharmacist and therefore use increasing medicines knowledge and expertise to improve patient treatment.

Benefits to PCN’s

  • GPs no longer carry out the activities that clinical pharmacists can carry out instead.
  • Clinical pharmacists support the achievement of QOF indicators and quality improvement projects.
  • Improvements in patient’s safety. Changes in prescribing practice that can be implemented across the PCN e.g. MHRA alerts where a drug is withdrawn or indications change.
  • Considerable savings can be made by improving prescribing processes across all prescribing staff.
  • Clinical pharmacists forge closer links with community pharmacy and improve patient advice/signposting – All prescribers in the practice learn from the clinical pharmacist and therefore increase their own knowledge when consulting with and treating patients.
  • Patient access increases as patients consult with the clinical pharmacist rather than GP for medication needs and advice.

Benefits to the wider NHS

  • Closer monitoring and management of patient medicines improves their care, wellbeing, and their ability to self-care and manage their own conditions. This reduces avoidable urgent or emergency hospital attendances and the risks of medicine-related side effects.