Supporting pharmacists working in primary care

Support for primary care pharmacists

We are committed to supporting our members, whichever sector of pharmacy you work in. Over the coming few months and years, there will be major structural changes being undertaken within the NHS, and particularly primary care. We have sent a letter to the NHS Commissioning Board's Directors of Local Area Teams, outlining the importance of having pharmacy expertise at this level.

For futher information about the consultations on the NHS reforms and what this means for pharmacy, see our 'Liberating the NHS' page.

We believe that pharmacists are experts in medicines use and optimisation and we are working with a variety of organisations to help transfer the current skills and roles of primary care pharmacists into the new NHS structures including those delivering specialist pharmacy services and services to prisons.

Survey of pharmacists working in Primary Care

The English Pharmacy Board wants to understand what is happening on the ground in relation to the emerging new NHS structures in England and how this is affecting colleagues working in the primary care sector. 

To this end we have gathered your thoughts and views via an online survey carried out in Oct 2011, again in October 2012 and most recently in May 2013. Your responses help the RPS shape and develop support for you. 

Survey results

We have followed up these surveys with a small focus group in to assist us in establishing more qualitative information about the current situation in primary care. 

Other organisations that can offer support

The Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists (GHP) promotes the interests of its members who are pharmacists who are employed by the NHS. This includes members working in primary care, secondary care and other NHS bodies. GHP is actively working with members working in primary care supporting them through regional representatives, local meetings, local accredited representatives and full time union officers. Representatives are able to support members with the wide range of employment and contractual issues including changes in employment contracts and redundancy. GHP is part of Unite the Union which is one of the unions recognised for negotiations by the NHS employers. Being part of Unite gives members access to full time union officers who are regionally based and can give regional support with local information. More information can be found on the GHP website. The website is updated regularly with comment from council members. The Unite the Union website also contains helpful information.

Pharmaceutical Advisers’ Group is the representative body of pharmacists employed by NHS Strategic Health Authorities, Primary Care Trusts (England) and Local Health Groups/Trusts (Wales). It provides a consultative link with the main pharmaceutical and related organisations in the NHS and supports the development needs of its members.

Pharmacy Defence Association (PDA) will provide indemnity insurance with pharmacists’ interest at heart and offers various levels of advice. The union can provide advice on all employment issues (particularly around revised terms and conditions, redefining job roles and redundancies). The union also has the legal right to provide a trained union accredited pharmacist representative to accompany members to internal employment grievance and disciplinary meetings. The PDA also has a group for specialist and primary care pharmacists and it is possible to be a PDA union member without having your own indemnity insurance with the PDA. The website for the union is and their main website can be accessed at

Primary Care Pharmacists' Association (PCPA) was established for the benefit of all pharmacists with an active interest in primary care pharmacy. The PCPA and its members are instrumental in the gathering and sharing of best primary care pharmacy practice, and in promoting in the UK the vital role played by primary care pharmacy teams in the health of the nation. The PCPA is a vital help and resource for primary care pharmacy teams everywhere, and contribute to national developments and initiatives, and liaise closely with other leading pharmacy and multidisciplinary professional bodies on all matters of professional interest to primary care pharmacy teams. For more information visit their website.

Primary and Community Care Pharmacy Network (PCCPN) is a UK wide special interest group established to provide peer support, networking and education opportunities to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians supporting safe medicines use in community health settings. This may include support for Community Nurses (Adults and Children), Prisons and secure environments, Macmillan Nurses and Community Hospitals and specialist clinics, as well as collaboration with Social care services. For more information please contact Melanie Dowden (Chairperson) or see our website and discussion group.

Secure Environment Pharmacists Group (SEPG) is a networking and support group for pharmacists commissioning services or directly providing services to prisons and other secure environments. The group has a broad range of contacts and is involved in a number of development work streams. The group can provide information and advice on opportunities for pharmacists in this sector and signpost to other support networks where appropriate. For more information please contact Cathy Cooke (Chair) or Davan Eustace (Public Relations Officer).