GPhC to implement new education standards 'as early as possible'

The General Pharmaceutical Council will be considering a final draft of its standards for the initial training and education of pharmacists at its meeting on December 10.

The standards incorporate the aim of people being independent prescribers at the point of registration. The underpinning skills will be an integral part of the MPharm degree with further specific practical learning forming part of a foundation training year, which will replace the pre-registration year.

The model for delivery of the foundation year will involve the GPhC delegating responsibility to the statutory education bodies (Health Education England, Health Education and Improvement Wales and NHS Education for Scotland) to manage the quality of placements in the fifth year with employers providing the day-to-day quality control of placements.

The statutory education bodies will commission Higher Education Institutions to provide elements of the learning in the fifth year, including independent prescribing.

The GPhC is working with its Advisory Group to develop a transition plan for how and when the standards will be implemented. This is likely to be an iterative process with the changes being implemented at the earliest opportunity.

GPhC chairman Nigel Clarke said: “These new standards will transform the education and training of pharmacists, so they will be able to play a much greater role in providing clinical care to patients and the public from their first day on the register.

“There is real momentum and support behind the standards from our Council and from the Advisory Group. We are working with pace and ambition to finalise the standards and working closely with everyone involved to develop a practical and realistic transition plan to implement them.”

Final work on the draft standards includes:

  • Reviewing some of the levels and headings in the learning outcomes to ensure these are right, with a particular focus on the progression from year four to five 
  • Making sure the elements of the standards relating to independent prescribing are appropriately woven through the five years of education 
  • Setting out the respective roles and accountabilities of the different organisations in relation to the foundation training year more clearly.

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