Chief pharmacist development programme

The Chief pharmacist development programme, designed and delivered in partnership with the NHS Leadership Academy, will equip new in-role and aspiring chief pharmacists with the necessary knowledge, skills, behaviours and experience to effectively perform this senior role. The 12-month fully funded programme offers a comprehensive mix of residential training, specialist study days, mentoring, online self-directed study, assessment and support. The Chief pharmacist development programme is overseen by a reference group, chaired by Health Education England (HEE).

We are accepting applications for future waves of the programme on an ongoing basis. The deadline for receipt of fourth wave applications is 1 April 2017. Wave 4 will run from July 2017.

Download an application form here.
Please contact if you cannot find the answer to your question on these pages.

Overview of the programme

The programme will be delivered over a 12-month period and will comprise:

  • residential block A: 3.5 days
  • residential block B:  2 days
  • specialist study days: 5 days (optional)
  • personal online study time
  • mentoring
  • one-to-one coaching if required.

At the first residential block, each participant will complete a self-directed learning plan to inform their learning. They will be supported by CPPE to determine their development needs and to plan their study day attendance. The number of study days attended may vary but the provision will be matched to learning needs, taking into account varying experience when joining the programme.

Residential blocks

There are two residential blocks of training as part of the Chief pharmacist development programme, both of which will take place at Warwick Conference Centre. The second block of training for one wave of participants will overlap with the first block of training for the next wave of participants. Bringing pharmacists together like this creates the opportunity for networking and builds strong collegiality to achieve success.

First wave

  • Block A: Monday 18 July – Thursday 21 July 2016
  • Block B: Wednesday 23 November – Thursday 24 November 2016  

Second wave

  • Block A: Monday 21 November – Thursday 24 November 2016
  • Block B: Wednesday 15 March – Thursday 16 March 2017

Third wave

  • Block A: Monday 13 March 2017 – Thursday 16 March 2017
  • Block B: Wednesday 5 July 2017 – Thursday 6 July 2017 

Fourth wave

  • Block A: Monday 3 July 2017 – Thursday 6 July 2017
  • Block B: Wednesday 15 November 2017 – Thursday 16 November 2017 

Block A will run from 12:00pm on Monday to 4:30pm on Thursday.
Block B will run from 10:30am on Wednesday until 4:30pm on Thursday.

Residential training will be delivered by CPPE in partnership with the NHS Leadership Academy and will include input from experienced chief pharmacists.

Specialist study days

In addition to the intensive residential blocks of training, there will be a series of optional specialist workshops on offer. These will be open to those who have identified particular areas of development, depending on the route taken to become a chief pharmacist. Workshop topics may include:

  • Finance, commissioning and procurement
  • Technical services
  • Legal issues
  • Clinical and research update
  • Self-awareness

These workshops will be held on an annual basis in London/Birmingham.

Online learning/NHS Leadership Academy

All of the face-to-face training will be supplemented by a wide offering of online learning accessed via CPPE and the NHS Leadership Academy. Some of this will be required pre-workshop activity for the residential training blocks and study days, while other content will be self-directed to meet aspects of the personal development plan.

Networking and local learning

A key part of the programme will be to build networks within pharmacy and the wider NHS. This will be facilitated by the residential nature of much of the programme and by the overlap between the waves of participants.

Those who are geographically close to each other may also choose to set up local learning sets to allow further networking and sharing of best practice within a region.


Pharmacists participating in the programme will be supported to find a mentor. This will be a senior leader who can act as a sounding board and provide support and guidance to further develop their career and networks.


Some participants may identify particular challenges during the course of the programme for which coaching may be appropriate. All participants will have access to a coach should they require it.