The foundation pharmacist training grant

This fact sheet contains information about the foundation pharmacist training grant, including who can claim it and what happens if a trainee pharmacist switches training provider part way through the training year.

Community foundation pharmacist training grant – England 

The grant is currently set at £18,440 per year (this payment is correct for the training year 2020/2021 and could be subject to change). It is the training provider’s responsibility to claim this grant and the grant is paid to them monthly in arrears. The NHS grant is only payable to recognised training providers (who have been approved by the GPhC) and is payable for a maximum of 52 weeks of foundation pharmacist training.

Local NHS England teams are responsible for instructing the NHS Prescription Services to make payments in respect of foundation pharmacist trainees.  Training providers who have any issues with the grant payment should contact their local team.

For further information on local teams, see the NHS England website. (Select your regional area and the regional area will then list the contact details for local teams.)

The GPhC provides trainees with a training record as proof of the training arrangements. Trainees should give this to their training provider who can then use it as proof of the training arrangement when making a claim for a training grant. There is no nationally approved form to claim the pre-registration training grant, however the PSNC has developed a form that training providers can use if they wish. For a copy of the form, see the PSNC website.

The GPhC does not:-

  • give funding for foundation pharmacist training
  • influence the eligibility for funding at any particular training arrangement or at any stage of funding
  • give advice about funding
  • tell anyone else about any change of training arrangements
  • show on the training record whether training is full or part-time, so any responsibility for telling funding providers lies with the training provider
  • issue a training record to anyone other than the trainee named on the training record.

Salary payment to foundation pharmacist trainees 

Trainees will not necessarily receive the whole of the training grant. It is up to the employer to decide what salary to offer, however it must meet the national minimum wage requirements. For up to date information on the national minimum wage, see the government website.

Trainees who have any concerns about the rate of pay offered or their employment contract can contact Pharmacist Support for further advice. Pharmacist Support may be able to help by referring trainees for specialist employment advice. Trainees can contact us on our general enquiry line: 0808 168 2233, or email us on:info@pharmacistsupport.org.

Alternatively, trainees who are a member of a trade union can contact their local trade union representative.

Switching placements

If a trainee wishes to switch to an alternative training provider it is the responsibility of the previous training provider to inform the NHS that the trainee is no longer in the placement. Once the training provider has informed the NHS the payment to them will stop and the remainder of the grant will be set aside for the new provider. The trainee’s new training provider should make a claim to NHS England as set out in the paragraph above. The new provider can only claim for the remainder of the 52 week grant.

Trainees should note that NHS England provides a grant for a maximum of 52 weeks. There is no guarantee that any additional training required beyond the 52 week threshold will be funded. If trainees wish to switch training placements, it is a good idea to switch at a sign-off, for example week 13 or week 26. Training can be banked at these points provided the trainee has satisfactory sign-offs. If a trainee switches in between sign-offs, they automatically revert back to the previous sign off, for example if they switch at week 20, they will automatically revert back to week 14, provided that they have a satisfactory week 13 sign-off. This will mean a shortfall in funding of 6 weeks.

Trainees should note that employers can opt to pay the trainee themselves if they so wish. It could be a good idea for trainees who are facing a funding shortfall to try to negotiate a salary with prospective employers wherever possible.

Trainees can bank and switch at week 39, however whilst this will allow trainees to register for the final assessment exam they will not be able to commence a new training placement at week 40. They would revert to week 27 (provided that they have a satisfactory week 26 sign-off) as a designated supervisor must have known a trainee for a minimum of six months in order to give the final 52 week sign-off. This will mean that there will be a shortfall in the training grant. Trainees should be aware that the new training provider will only be able to apply for the remainder of the grant, for example, a trainee who switches at week 39 will have to complete 26 weeks of training but will only be covered by the NHS grant for 13 weeks of that training.

Any trainees wishing to bank and switch must get approval from the GPhC before doing so.

Additional placements

Some trainees will have to do an additional placement if they do not get all of their sign-offs. Trainees should note that NHS England does not provide funding for additional placements. For further information on additional placements, see our Failed the assessment fact sheet.

Hospital foundation pharmacist trainees salary – England

Hospital trainees are paid according to salary Band 5 on the nationally agreed NHS salary scale. This is currently set at £24,907, however, salaries are higher than this in inner and outer London and South East England owing to the higher cost of living. This additional payment ranges depending on the area. Trainees should note that this salary is correct for April 2020-April 2021, the NHS and the government have not come to a final decision yet about the funding year 2021-2022.

Community/hospital foundation pharmacist training grant – Scotland and Wales

Trainees in Scotland can apply for a training placement via the NHS Education for Scotland (NES) Pre-registration Pharmacist Scheme (PRPS). All trainees in the PRPS scheme are paid an annual salary of £24,907 for a 37.5 hour week, (please note this salary is correct for April 2020-April 2021,  the NHS and the government have not come to a final decision yet about the funding year 2021-2022 ) regardless of whether they work within a community or hospital setting.

Training providers will not have to make a claim for the grant. NES and HEIW will be aware of where the trainees have been placed and will transfer the funds accordingly.

There is a cap on the number of places funded by NES and HEIW. Whilst employers can employ as many foundation pharmacist trainees as they wish (assuming that the GPhC criteria are being met), only trainees recruited via the PRPS will be funded by NES and HEIW.

Other useful Pharmacist Support information

We have compiled a series of fact sheets on the subject of the pre-registration year. These fact sheets will help trainees who are about to begin their pre-registration year.

Pre-registration: The assessment fact sheet

Pre-registration: The foundation trainee pharmacist year fact sheet

Pre-registration: Failed the assessment fact sheet

Pre-registration: Finding a placement fact sheet

This fact sheet was last reviewed on 28 July 2021.