Cross-sector pre-registration pharmacist placements in general practice in England: Lessons from a national evaluation

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


In 2019/2020, the Pharmacy Integration Fund commissioned delivery of cross-sector pre-registration pharmacist training incorporating 3–6 month placements in general practice (GP). GP placements were managed by Health Education England (HEE) and organised as one (or more) blocks, or as spilt weeks/days across base sector (hospital/community) and GP. Trainees had a pharmacist tutor at base and in GP.

to evaluate the implementation of cross-sector pre-registration pharmacy placements in GP in England, and to identify barriers and enablers of a successful placement.

A qualitative approach was taken, with case study sites purposively sampled for maximum variation: pharmacy base (hospital/community), number of pre-registration pharmacist trainees in base doing GP placement, length of GP placement, organisation of GP placement and geographical location. With consent, trainees and tutors identified as meeting sampling criteria were emailed invitation letters and participant information sheets. Where the trainee and their tutor(s) agreed to participate, semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted January - July 2020. Questions developed from literature(1, 2) and the HEE handbook were tailored to understanding trainees’ and tutors’ views on the implementation of pre-registration pharmacist placements in GP, including benefits, unintended consequences and impacts. Thematic analysis across sites was undertaken with a focus on exploring inter and intra group themes.

Thirty-four interviews were completed in 11 study sites (5 GP/hospital; 6 GP/community pharmacy). Trainees and tutors considered GP placements had been successful. Contributing factors were: placement planning (induction, contingency arrangements for cover should GP tutor be unavailable); tutors working together (good communication and collaboration); GP tutor support (regular contact, reflection; identifying learning needs; opportunities for learning); integration of GP placements within training year (specific learning/training activities at base during GP placement); and GP tutors having backing of their organisation to supervise effectively. A lack of these impacted negatively. Trainees completed a wide spectrum of activities and gradually moved from administrative to clinical tasks. They built up confidence to undertake patient-facing activities, with more direct supervision at the beginning moving to indirect supervision using debriefing. Thirteen weeks in GP was considered an appropriate minimum duration by all trainees and tutors; those based in community felt that 26 weeks in GP provided more opportunities for clinical and consultation skills learning. Cross-sector experience facilitated a better understanding of patient pathways and the importance of holistic patient care. All trainees considered working in GP in future but highlighted the lack of a cross-sector GP foundation programme. Base tutors felt the time commitment was comparable to single sector placements. Base and GP tutors felt that a clear set of competencies for GP placements and a broader governance framework would ensure standards and consistency.

This is the first national evaluation of cross-sector pre-registration pharmacists in general practice placements in England. Sampling as case studies enabled data triangulation and generated a multi-faceted understanding on factors impacting GP placements. A key limitation was the volunteer bias associated with recruitment. Key attributes of a successful pre-registration cross-sector training experience are highlighted and can inform policy reforms including change from pre-registration to foundation year training.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021
Event Health Services Research & Pharmacy Practice Conference - University of Reading (Online conference), Reading
Duration: 8 Apr 20219 Apr 2021


Conference Health Services Research & Pharmacy Practice Conference
City Reading


Dive into the research topics of 'Cross-sector pre-registration pharmacist placements in general practice in England: Lessons from a national evaluation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this