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GPhC launches consultation on initial education and training standards for pharmacists

The GPhC has launched a landmark consultation proposing significant changes to the initial education and training of pharmacists.

The proposals in the consultation include: 

  • having one set of standards and learning outcomes that cover the full period of education and training before initial registration as a pharmacist, with closer integration between academic study and practical experience 

  • strengthening experiential learning and inter-professional learning

  • revising the learning outcomes so that they are more focused on developing clinical skills and communication skills, while still retaining the critical importance of science

  • setting an expectation that schools of pharmacy, employers and commissioners will work together to develop proposals for integrating the 52 weeks of learning in practice within accredited programmes

  • requiring a more rigorous and structured approach to learning in practice (currently known as pre-registration training) with more regular and documented progress meetings

  • strengthening requirements in relation to selection and admission, including a requirement for course providers to assess the values of prospective students in addition to their academic qualifications through interactive activities such as multiple mini interviews or group work

  • Strengthening requirements in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion, including by requiring course providers to conduct an annual review of student performance and admissions by the protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010

Ahead of the consultation, the GPhC met with schools of pharmacy and other organisations involved in education and training to seek their views on how the standards and learning outcomes should change.  The GPhC also established an Education Advisory Group and expert drafting groups to help in the development of the proposals and revised standards and learning outcomes.

Pharmacy professionals, pharmacy students, education and training providers, commissioners, employers and patients and the public are encouraged to respond to the consultation which is open for 12 weeks until 3 April 2019.

Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC, said:

“We know that pharmacists’ roles are evolving at pace in response to the current health and social care landscape. Now is the time to discuss how education and training should change so that the pharmacists of the future are fully equipped for the roles they will need to take on to deliver safe, high quality service to patients and the public.

“We have put forward a number of significant changes, including integrating academic study and workplace experience, as well as a proposal to revise the learning outcomes so that they are more focused on developing clinical skills and communications skills while still retaining the critical importance of science. 

“We recognise that our changes may present a number of challenges for course providers, employers, commissioners and students, and may involve some difficult decisions. But we also believe it is the right time for us all to think innovatively about how education and training needs to change so that the pharmacists of the future are fully equipped for the roles they will need to play.

“I want to urge everyone with an interest in pharmacy education and practice to respond to our consultation so we can set the standards that will help prepare future pharmacists for future practice”.