Lessons from switching practices in a multi-sector Foundation Pharmacist programme

The work described here was presented at the Pharmacy Together 2019 conference.

National drivers are steering towards a common Foundation Pharmacist programme for all newly qualified pharmacists, enabling development of an effective transferable workforce to deliver patient-centred care across an integrated care system. To test the viability of a future national programme, Health Education England (HEE) commissioned the South East London FP Vocational Training Scheme. 

Of 11 newly qualified Foundation pharmacists recruited to the programme, six completed their preregistration training in community and five in hospital. Spending the first six months of the Vocational Training Scheme in their original practice setting, they were required to switch to the alternate setting for a period of six months. 

To assist this transition, HEE funded a second pharmacist, for the equivalent of six weeks full time, in community pharmacy to support hospital Foundation pharmacists. In hospital, the existing practice supervisors supported community Foundation pharmacists.

The objective was to successfully switch Foundation pharmacists from one practice setting to another. Success was defined as the Foundation pharmacist safely and confidently delivering patient-centred service autonomously.  

This evaluation investigated what resource was required to support Foundation pharmacists in this transition and the Foundation pharmacists’ perception of the effectiveness of the support they received. Electronic surveys were sent to all Foundation pharmacists from week 8 to 17 of the rotation. Survey responses were received from ten of the 11 Foundation pharmacists (five community and five hospital).

Hospital to Community transition: 

  • Hospital Foundation pharmacists undertook up to 21 hours of pre-requisite work in their own time to ensure they were accredited to deliver services
  • One hundred percent felt this work should be evenly distributed throughout the previous rotation
  • Sixty percent felt confident to work autonomously within four weeks
  • All hospital Foundation pharmacists stated the support received by a second pharmacist was needed, but those with regular practice experience as an undergraduate suggested this could be reduced
  • No hospital Foundation pharmacists had an induction plan on arrival. 

Community to Hospital transition: 

  • Community Foundation pharmacists had no pre-requisite work which they felt would be beneficial
  • Sixty percent felt ready to work autonomously within four weeks
  • Eighty percent had an induction plan on arrival and a named practice supervisor who supported them
  • Sixty percent felt the support prepared them for service delivery
  • All Foundation pharmacists were working autonomously by the end of eight weeks.

All Foundation pharmacists transitioned from one practice setting to another within eight weeks, with 60 percent providing services autonomously by the end of the fourth week. Within this time both a practice supervisor in hospital and the second pharmacist in community were needed, but duration should be adapted to individual Foundation pharmacist’s needs. 

The pre-requisite training requirements and induction plans for both settings need to be robustly planned and focused on preparing Foundation pharmacists for service delivery. A limitation of this study is that it did not investigate the Foundation pharmacists’ ability to deliver service targets within the induction and the six-month placement, as it was not included in the success criteria. 

This work was presented as a poster at the Pharmacy Together 2019 conference, organised by UKCPA and Pharmacy Management.

Additional authors:

Jennifer Guffie & Rahul Singal, South East London Integrated Care System

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the UKCPA or its members. We encourage readers to follow links and references to primary research papers and guidance.

Competing interest statement: 

The author declares: support from Health Education England for the submitted work; employed by Health Education England who might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.


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