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RPS responds to proposed changes to education and training for pharmacists

The RPS has been discussing learning from the pandemic, the urgent need for change to training and education of pharmacists with General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and a range of other stakeholders from across pharmacy.

There is strong support for a proposal to replace the current pre-registration year with a foundation period of 12 months at the end of which, one aim would be for new registrants to be independent prescribers, albeit recognising implementation needs to take account of each country’s circumstances and be subject to appropriate consultation.

Our development and revision of the foundation programme for pharmacists has helped to inform the work in this area.  

We support the principles of initial education reform as set out by the GPhC and discussed at the UK Pharmacy Education Governance Oversight Board.

Our position, set out below, was agreed at the recent Assembly meeting informed by the views of our country boards and Education and Standards Committee:

  • Independent prescribing should be an outcome of foundation pharmacist training
  • There should be a scaffolded approach to becoming a prescriber; with learning integrated throughout initial education and training culminating in full independent prescribing rights
  • Prescribers should also have access to clinical supervision and peer networks beyond their initial annotation on the register
  • More experiential learning is required in the first 4 years of learning which must be adequately resourced
  • A balance is required to achieve the desired pace but recognise and mitigate the risks of unintended consequences with such an approach
  • Existing work programmes such as the 5 year integrated programme in Scotland and national Foundation Pharmacist training programme must be woven into the reform programme
  • We have an important role to play in leading the development of foundation curriculum and assessments as well as support for learners and their educational supervisors

We have led the development of post registration curricula and assessment. The new Foundation Pharmacist Framework was published in November 2019 and is based on an evidence based role analysis to determine the roles of Foundation pharmacists now and in 5 years time.

We welcome the joined up approach to work with partners to determine how many of the identified attributes can be brought forward into initial education and training as well as setting out a clear career pathway from registration through to advanced and consultant level practice.

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