Infrastructure fund to pay for community pharmacist IT training

Millions of pounds from the primary care infrastructure fund are to be spent training community pharmacists to use summary care records, ministers have revealed.

Alistair Burt: infrastructure fund to help train pharmacists
Alistair Burt: infrastructure fund to help train pharmacists

Primary care minister Alistair Burt told an MP that £7.5m of the £1bn fund would be ‘used to support community pharmacists with training and appropriate tools’ to support plans to give them access to the shared patient data.

On Monday the minister confirmed that £25m from the fund was being used to fund part of the second wave of GP access pilots under the prime minister's Challenge Fund, topping up the initial £100m funding, as announced in March.

Last week NHS England announced a £15m pilot scheme to recruit clinical pharmacists to GP practices, also funded from the infrastructure cash. And in his new deal speech last month the health secretary announced a £10m fund to support practices identified as struggling by the CQC funded from the same pot.

Primary care funding

The primary care infrastructure fund, which is managed by NHS England, was announced by the chancellor George Osborne in the autumn statement last year, worth £250m a year from 2015/16 to 2018/19.

In March more than 1,000 GP practices were given grants of up to £5m for premises improvements. Applicants for the first tranche were told the money should be used to ‘improve premises, help practices to harness technology and give practices the space to offer more appointments and improved care for the frail elderly’.

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