Vacancy -- Head of Pharmacy and Prescribing Services

Working for the Civil Service

The Welsh Government's recruitment processes are underpinned by the principle of selection for appointment on merit on the basis of fair and open competition as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s Recruitment Principles.

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

Vacancy Details

Health and Social Services Group
Primary Care, Pharmacy & Prescribing
Grade 7 - £51,380 - £61,440
A starting salary between £51,380 and £57,190 will be offered to the successful candidate based on their skills, knowledge and experience and performance at interview. This range is not negotiable.
Full time (applications are welcome from people who work part time, as part of a job share or who work full time)
Pan Wales
'Pan Wales' means that the location in which the vacancy can be based is flexible, subject to the needs of the business. Please note it may not always be possible to accommodate a preference for a specific office location, but requests will be taken into consideration.

Purpose of Post:

 The Welsh Government’s long term plan for Health and Social Care “A Healthier Wales” sets out the ambition to better meet people’s health and wellbeing needs at or close to home, improving the integration of services, particularly in the community and a stronger focus on prevention.

Primary and community care is one of the five Ministerial priorities in the NHS Wales Annual Planning Framework 2021-2022.  The Primary and Community Care 2021-22 Planning Framework sets out the specific priorities for primary and community care, both for COVID-19 and the recovery of non COVID-19 activity, building on key lessons from 2020-21.

The branch supports a number of Programme for Government commitments and A Healthier Wales priorities, in particular: to deliver better access to doctors, nurses, dentists and other health professionals; the reform of primary care and implementation of Pharmacy: Delivering a Healthier Wales.

 The post holder will be involved in the development and implementation of policy on a range of issues relating to pharmacy and prescribing services.

 Pharmacy and Prescribing Services.

 The team operates across two priority areas; Access to Medicines and Pharmacy: Delivering a Healthier Wales (P:DaHW).

 Access to Medicines includes a range of policy areas including new medicines appraisal, New Treatment Fund, Individual Patient Funding Requests and free prescriptions. In addition working alongside UK health Departments, NHS colleagues, Pharmaceutical Industry and Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency the branch is involved in Voluntary Pricing and Access Scheme, Patient Access Scheme, Commercial Access Agreements and Managed Access Agreements. Medicines shortages and long term resilience in response to COVID19 and EU Exit is also undertaken through collaboration with internal and external stakeholders.

 P:DaHW is a 10 year strategy which sets out the whole system change approach to transforming pharmaceutical services to maximise the health gains the citizens of Wales derive from their interactions with the pharmacy profession. At the heart of this policy development is meeting need and improving access and outcomes for patients and the public through evidence informed patient centered care, supported by reform of the existing community pharmacy contractual framework. In addition we are involved in developing and implementing a recovery plan for dental and oral health services post-COVID-19 pandemic using new measures based on existing data collection and assessment tools developed for contract reform.

 The role requires effective working relationships with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders, including Welsh Government colleagues within Primary Care Division and the wider Health and Social Services Group, Chief Pharmaceutical Officers and their deputies for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Health Boards, health professionals, Pharmacy Independent Contractors and their representative body, Royal Pharmaceutical Society (Wales office), Public Health Wales, Digital Health and Care Wales, Health Education and Improvement Wales, NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership, All Wales Medicines Strategy Group, All Wales Therapeutics and Toxicology Centre, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, NHS partners such as Health Technology Wales and Life Science Hub, National and UK academic bodies, Wales Research Strategy Implementation Group, Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (Wales office), Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry, Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, Thalidomide Trust,  UK Health Departments and the media via the Welsh Government Press Office.

This is a high profile area of work, attracting significant media and political attention and the post holder will be required to effectively manage these demands whilst developing policy alongside robust engagement with a range of stakeholders and national programmes. 

The individual will be expected to work on interlinked projects that deal with multiple aspects of contract reform, policy development across pharmacy contractor areas and the wider pharmacy profession. They will gain an excellent overview of the changes sought in Primary Care in Wales.


Key tasks:

Ensure the provision of timely appropriate and high quality advice on pharmacy and prescribing services to Ministers and Welsh Government colleagues

Provide strong and effective leadership, representing Welsh Government and Wales interests in pharmacy and prescribing services

Lead policy on improving access to pharmacy services, focussing on drivers to improve access, needs of access and how access is improved going forward. Access is a key ministerial priority and PfG commitment.

Support the Minister, senior officials, and external stakeholders, to shape and deliver policy objectives within available resources against National Programmes such as Primary Care Model for Wales, Accelerated Cluster Development, National Clinical Framework, and Recovery Reset and Transform

Collaborate through a tripartite approach of negotiations between Welsh Government, NHS Wales and Community Pharmacy Wales to implement improvements to the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework year on year

Lead policy on Pharmacy: Delivering a Healthier Wales including activities aligned to the transformation and sustainability of pharmacy and prescribing services

Lead policy on Decarbonisation of pharmacy and prescribing services in response to Programme for Government commitments and support the Primary Care Division in their response

Work with colleagues in WG and DHCW to inform and influence development and deployment of IT systems to support pharmacy in delivery of services in line with strategic policy of Digital Medicines Transformation

Oversee, delegate and approve all Pharmacy Appeals on behalf of Welsh Ministers in line with Pharmaceutical Services 2020 Regulations

Oversee and delegate policy activity within Access to Medicines, including; New Treatment Fund, EU exit, Individual Patient Funding Request process, continuity of medicines supply and medicinal cannabis

Manage the use of professional advisors (financial, legal, commercial, etc.) to ensure robust and reliable information is available for effective decisions

Development opportunities:

This post has considerable development opportunities in both management and policy development/delivery. The post-holder will also be able to expand on the full range of competencies. 

With a view to future career development it offers: ample opportunities to develop well-rounded policy skills; scope to develop strong interpersonal skills, working with a wide range of contacts in other Departments, the NHS and pharmacy profession; and first-hand experience of policy implementation, delivery and performance management, including helping to formulate legislation and the drafting of policy documents and guidance. There is significant budget delegation attached to this post and personal responsibility linked to regular dealings with Ministers, professional colleagues in the office and externally with the pharmacy profession and the wider NHS.

The post also offers the opportunity to play a lead role in the delivery of Welsh Government’s medicines agenda and demonstrate competency at the higher level.  This is high profile and of prime strategic importance within the context of the overall health agenda and prudent health care.

Primary Care Division is fully committed to the training and development of all its staff.  The post holder will receive line management support and training. The post holder will be supported in undertaking any relevant training and development activity.

Closing Date:

18/08/2022, 16:00


Posts recruited to as part of this recruitment campaign are broadly open to UK nationals, those with right to remain and work in the UK and those that meet the Civil Service Nationality Rules only. Check your eligibility here:

Prior to appointment, all successful applicants will be required to produce original, acceptable documents as part of the pre-employment checks. If it becomes apparent at a later stage in the process that you aren’t eligible to apply, your application will be withdrawn, or offer retracted.

Equality and Diversity

The Welsh Government is committed to providing services which embrace diversity and which promote equality of opportunity. This is underpinned by the Equality Act 2010 and will be adhered to at each stage of the recruitment process. Our goal is to ensure that these commitments are also embedded in our day-to-day working practices with all our customers, colleagues and partners.

We are committed to being an anti-racist organisation and increasing diversity in the Welsh Government by removing barriers and supporting all our staff to reach their potential. We are committed to recruiting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people and disabled people who are currently under-represented in Welsh Government.

We welcome applications from everyone regardless of age, marriage and civil partnership (both same sex and opposite sex), impairment or health condition, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, gender identity or gender expression.

We are a Stonewall Diversity Champion and a Disability Confident Level 3 (Leader) organisation. Key to supporting this work and providing peer support are five Board sponsored Staff Networks (Disability Awareness and Support (DAAS); Minority Ethnic Support Network (MESN); Mind Matters (Mental health and well-being); PRISM (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex +) and Women Together.

Disability Confident

The Welsh Government has adopted the social definition of disability, in which it is recognised that barriers in society act to disable people who have impairments or health conditions, who are neurodivergent or who use British Sign Language. We are committed to removing barriers so that all (or potential new) staff can perform at their best.

We guarantee to interview any disabled person who meets the minimum criteria for the post. By ‘minimum criteria’ we mean that you must provide us with evidence, at each stage of the assessment process before interview, which demonstrates you generally meet the job description requirements. We are committed to the employment and career development of disabled people.

If you have an impairment or health condition, if you are neurodivergent or use British Sign Language and need to discuss reasonable adjustments for any part of this recruitment process, or wish to discuss how we will put in place any adjustments if you were to be successful, please email as soon as possible and a member of the team will contact you to discuss requirements and any questions you may have.

A Great Place to Work for Veterans

This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans initiative.

Welsh Language Requirements

The Welsh Government is a bilingual organisation and Welsh language skills are considered an asset to the organisation. We encourage and support staff to learn, develop and use their Welsh language skills in the workplace. 

The following list of language requirements represents an objective assessment by the line manager on behalf of the Welsh Government of the Welsh language skills required to undertake the duties of this particular post.

Can read some basic words and phrases with understanding
Can hold a basic conversation in Welsh
Can understand parts of a basic conversation
Can write basic messages on everyday topics

Social Partnership

In Welsh Government, the relationship between the employer and trade unions is based on social partnership. We believe our goals can best be achieved by management and trade unions working together.

Our 3 recognised trade unions are:
•         PCS
•         Prospect
•         FDA

This relationship is underpinned by a partnership agreement. This sets out how our unions work with Welsh Government on issues such as:
•         pay
•         terms and conditions
•         policies and procedures
•         organisational change.

Our Welsh Government trade union colleagues work together to give their members a real say in the workplace. They make sure that the interests of their members are promoted and protected. They also help reduce inequalities and improve terms and conditions.

The Welsh Government has an excellent track record of working in partnership with its trade unions. We encourage staff to get involved. We support you to join a recognised trade union, to ensure your voice is heard in the workplace. and to learn more about trade unions and partnership working.

Competencies / Job Specific Criteria


Changing and Improving - Effectively capture, utilise and share customer insight and views from a diverse range of stakeholders to ensure better policy and delivery

Making effective decisions - Navigate and balance a range of political, national and international pressures to shape the Department’s strategy and priorities.

Leading and communicating - Be highly visible and credible at the most senior levels across and outside the Civil Service, communicating purpose and direction with clarity and enthusiasm.

 Collaborating and partnering - Actively build and maintain a network of colleagues and contacts to achieve progress on objectives and shared interests.

Job Specific Criteria

  1.  Leadership – Works well with others and builds effective relationships to achieve corporate goals. Highly organised, able to manage own workload and work to tight deadlines when necessary
  2. Analysis and use of evidence – Analyses information, taking account of relevant advice and expert opinion.

  3. Communication – Good communication skills, able to work with internal and external stakeholders at any level. Listens and feeds back effectively.

Assessment Process

Selection Process:
Applications will be sifted, successful candidates will then be invited to an interview where they will be asked to do a presentation

Type of opportunity:
This is a permanent role, open to those who wish to apply on a loan or secondment basis.

Other Information

  • Unless stated otherwise in ‘actual starting salary’, all candidates will start at the minimum of the pay scale being appointed to (this includes existing civil servants).This is not negotiable.
  • Unless stated otherwise in ‘type of opportunity’, this recruitment advert is not open on a Loan or Secondment basis.
  • For more information on the eligibility criteria and terms and conditions for Loan and Secondment positions in Welsh Government, please see external recruitment candidate guidance.
  • Unless stated otherwise in ‘Location of Post’ the role/s recruited to via this campaign can only be worked in the UK, not overseas.
Alex Slade

How to apply

All applications for this vacancy should be made online via the Welsh Government's online application system.  If you have an impairment which would prevent you from applying on-line, please e-mail to request an application pack in an alternative format, or to request a reasonable adjustment related to an impairment in order to submit your application.

To apply, you'll need to have an account on our online application system.  Click the 'Apply' button below, and you'll be asked to 'Log in' if you already have an account, or 'Register' if you don't yet have an account.  Registration takes just a few minutes to complete.  You'll need an e-mail address to be able to register.  Once you've registered for an account and logged in, you'll be taken to the online application form, which you'll need to fully complete and submit before the deadline on the closing date.  

If you’d like to apply for this vacancy in Welsh, please use the ‘Newid Iaith / Change Language’ link at the top of this page, to take you to the Welsh version of this advert, from which you can apply in Welsh.

For further information regarding the Welsh Government recruitment process, please see the Recruitment Guidance for External Candidates (link).

When evidencing your suitability for the post, it is recommended that you refer to the Civil Service Competency Framework (link)

Grievance and Complaints

Anyone who believes they have been treated unfairly, or has a grievance or complaint, about how the process was conducted should either write to the Head of Resourcing, Welsh Government, Cathays Park 2, Cardiff CF10 3NQ or email  If you are unhappy with the outcome of the complaint raised with the Welsh Government and feel that the principles of appointment on merit through fair and open competition have not been met you have the right to pursue your grievance with the Civil Service Commission.

This vacancy is closed to applications.