The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has opened what it has described as “a landmark” consultation on the initial education and training of pharmacists.

Among the proposals in the consultation, which runs for 12 weeks until April 3, include one set of standards and learning outcomes covering the full period of education and training marked by “closer integration between academic study and practical experience” and an improvement in “experiential” and “inter-professional learning.”

The GPhC is also seeking feedback on focusing learning outcomes on the development of clinical and communication skills, getting schools of pharmacy, employers and commissioners to work together to integrate yearly learning in practice into accredited programmes and introducing a more “rigorous” approach to learning.

Other proposals include strengthening selection and admission requirements and improving equality, diversity and inclusion, with course providers conducting an annual review of student performance and admissions.

“We know that pharmacists’ roles are evolving at pace in response to the current health and social care landscape,” said GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin.

“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.”

 

 

Picture: PeopleImages (iStock)

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