P R E S S     R E L E A S E

1st November 2004

For immediate release


Pharmacists who are members of Unison and Amicus will have received ballot papers on whether to accept the Agenda for Change process for National Rollout. Members of Unison will receive a recommendation to vote yes, but Amicus members, the union of which Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists (GHP) is an autonomous professional section will receive no recommendation following a decision of the Health Sector National Conference. The ballot paper will be supported by some background information produced in early September. This statement updates that information provided by GHP.

We continue to work with Job Evaluation Working Party (JEWP) to modify the profiles to clarify their applicability to other pharmacist posts outside the typical hospital clinical environment and ensure matching irrespective of sector or specialty. We expect the pattern of outcomes being accepted, apart from exceptions where the existing Whitley grading may have been seriously distorted for recruitment and retention, purposes to continue. It should be noted that whilst the Whitley Grade is indicative of the likely assimilated band there is no direct correlation and each post or cluster of posts will be locally evaluated.

The job evaluation profiles recognise the knowledge, skills and experience inherent in the qualification and in-service development of the pharmacist. This combined with the joint development of the Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) outlines between GHP and Department of Health (DoH) will support a clear career path and professional and personal development for individual pharmacists. Collectively this will promote and enhance new roles and modernisation of service delivery, improve the pharmaceutical care of patients and reward pharmacists for increased responsibility. Most pharmacists will at least maintain their existing salaries on assimilation and many will with the longer pay spines receive future increases with incremental progression. However the longer pay spines do mean that starting salaries for example the Band 7 are below the current Whitley start grade for Grade D for new applicants although not on assimilation. We accept the salaries for many posts especially on entering the service are substantially lower that that in the commercial sector. Should Agenda for Change proceed we will seek, via Amicus, to use the expansion of the Pay Review Body remit to cover pharmacists and technicians to address this anomaly. We welcome the addition of a band 9.

The proposed terms and conditions especially relating to on-call and work undertaken outside of normal hours were the major areas of concern. We are pleased that following a Shadow Executive review of the Early Implementation process, that there will a continuation of the national and local agreements for on-call and unsocial hours, including the existing Emergency Duty Commitment allowance for all pharmacists irrespective of band for the next four years. Alternative schemes may be proposed pending a review to be completed by October 2005, but we are reassured that further acceptance will be subject to a ballot of all Amicus members. We still have concerns that overtime payments will not be available for routine overtime for band 8 and above but welcome the availability of overtime payments to staff in all bands required to attend whilst covering on-call.

Pre-Registration Pharmacist

This will be a minimum of Band 4 although the final profile has yet to be agreed and it is our view that the responsibilities would equate to a higher band. Band 4 is however an increase on existing pre-registration salaries.

Band 6 - Clinical Pharmacist, Pharmacist Post Registration

Most sites have matched Grade B and Junior Grade C posts to this band, which equates to a similar salary. GHP have requested that these profiles be merged into a single profile called Pharmacist as the differences are small and would be dealt with under the Knowledge & Skills Framework.

Band 7 - Specialist Clinical Pharmacist

This post is for experienced Grade C posts in specialist areas and all existing grade D posts that do not require a higher diploma and/or significant experience. The profile wording is being genericised into a profile called Pharmacist Specialist, although the job title of the post is not dependant on profile names, which are standard across the NHS.

Band 8a/8b - Highly Specialist Clinical Pharmacist

This band spans the experienced Grade D and most Grade E posts. They would require additional theoretical or conceptual knowledge gained through a higher qualification to diploma level supported by knowledge gained through experience (or this additional knowledge demonstrated through other equivalent routes). The profile is likely to be renamed Advanced Pharmacist.

Band 8b/8c - Clinical Pharmacy Services Manager/Principal Clinical Pharmacist

Clinical and Operational Principal Pharmacists in a number of sites have now matched to this profile

Band 8c - 9 - Chief Pharmacist/Director of Pharmaceutical Services

Due to small number of these posts and the fact that many may be covered by the Senior Manager pay scheme most outcomes have been delayed but those disclosed have matched to this profile.

It is intended that the new members forum will be used to address individual members questions and allow discussion on the pros and cons of the agreement.

David Miller
Chair of Terms and Conditions
Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists

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