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Approval process for education and training providers

The GPhC accredits and recognises pharmacy courses leading to registration and annotation.

These are:

  • Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degrees leading to pre-registration and then pharmacist registration
  • Overseas Pharmacists' Assessment Programmes (OSPAPs) leading to pre-registration and then pharmacist registration
  • Prescribing programmes leading to pharmacist annotation
  • Competency- and knowledge-based qualifications leading to pharmacy technician registration.

The GPhC also accredits pharmacy, dispensing and medicines counter assistants courses that permit individuals working in pharmacies to undertake a range of activities for the safe supply of medicines to patients and the public.

These are:

  • Dispensing or pharmacy assistants level 2 courses
  • Medicines counter assistant level 2 courses.

What is accreditation?

Accreditation means that all processes around a course have been reviewed for quality assurance purposes to ensure that the course of education or training meets the relevant GPhC standards, accreditation criteria or training policies.

The accreditation process itself involves submission of a self-assessment document supported by documentary evidence, followed by an accreditation event attended by an accreditation team which culminates in an formal accreditation decision which may or may not have conditions associated with it. Depending on the course of education and training being accredited the accreditation event itself may involve some or all of the following: site visit,  meetings with academic, research,  teaching and practice staff, meetings with senior management, meeting with students, viewing of teaching facilities.

What does provisional accreditation mean?

There are two types of accreditation that an MPharm degree provider may hold; provisional accreditation or full accreditation.

Provisional accreditation refers to when a university is planning to provide an MPharm degree for the first time and is working through the steps of accreditation process towards full accreditation. There are 7 steps in the MPharm degree accreditation process and each step takes place one academic year apart. The initial accreditation process therefore takes a minimum of 7 years to complete. Once a university has successfully completed step 3 it is permitted to enrol students onto year 1 of its new MPharm degree. Over the next 4 years the university then undertakes step 4 - 7. Following successful completion of step 7, the first cohort of students graduate, and full accreditation is granted.

NB: Universities that provide a provisionally accredited MPharm degree are described on some Higher Education websites (such as Unistats ) as being 'recognised by the GPhC for the purpose of (working towards accreditation)'.

Full accreditation of an MPharm degree is granted by the GPhC when a university has successfully completed all steps of the initial accreditation process.  Once full accreditation is achieved the University moves from the accreditation process for new MPharm degrees to the reaccreditation process for exisiting MPharm degrees. The reaccreditaiton process for existing MPharm degrees currently requires a full reaccreditation visit every six years, with an interim visit every three years.

What is recognition?

Recognition relates to the approval of national qualifications delivered country wide. These courses are mapped to the quality credit framework and agreed national occupational standards. We recognise the quality assurance of these awarding bodies and do not directly accredit the specific providers.

We currently recognise level 2 and level 3 qualifications awarded by EdExcel, City and Guilds and Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

For further details of the courses and qualifications the GPhC currently accredits and recognises, please see Approved providers of education and training.

Accreditation and recognition panel

Each accreditation or recognition process is undertaken by a team drawn from the GPhC's accreditation and recognition panel. The size and make up of an accreditation team varies depedning on the type of course ebing accredited.

Full list of our current accreditation and recognition panel

Guidance and templates for providers of education and training

Access all the documentation required for approval of an education and training programme including submission templates and guidance documents.

Directives

Relevant directives stating GPhC responsibilities for approval of pharmacists education and training:

European Commission Directive