Individuals training to become pharmacists should undergo a two-year foundation programme, one year of which would take place after registration, pharmacy school leaders have said.
In an August 14 statement, the Pharmacy Schools Council (PhSC) set out proposed changes it said would help ensure newly qualified pharmacists are prepared for their future careers, with a particular emphasis on the skills needed to work as an independent prescriber.
The course content of the four-year MPharm degree should be revised to “ensure the further development of clinical and behavioural skills, compatible woth recognised prescribing competencies,” said the PhSC, adding that “careful thinking” would be required to address factors such as cost and curriculum overload.
The PhSC proposed that following completion of the MPharm, trainees should complete a Foundation Year 1 preparing them with the “theoretical principles underpinning prescribing roles”.
All training completed in these five years would be covered by common Initial Education and Training (IET) standards, and at the end of FY1 pharmacists would join the GPhC register.
They would then undergo a Foundation Year 2 to give them a grounding in advanced practice for the sector in which they plan to work. Pharmacists would gain their formal prescribing qualifications in FY2.
Splitting pharmacists’ prescribing training across two years would be “the most viable practical means to bring the profession towards broader prescribing competence,” the PhSC said.
The PhSC’s statement follows a recent letter from Health Education England and NHS England & Improvement outlining plans to replace the pre-registration training year with a one-year foundation programme.
The PhSC said: “The new roles and opportunities that are appearing for the pharmacy profession will require greater consultation and decision-making skills than may have been the case in the past.
“It is therefore essential that the profession adapts so a to provide a vital service to patients, carers and the public, recognising that such a role must be underpinned by detailed scientific knowledge as well as clinical and behavioural skills.”
The PhSC said that while there would be differences in approach across the devolved nations, “we believe that these fundamental principles are applicable across the UK”.