I agree with Ryan Hamilton’s letter (
The Pharmaceutical Journal 2014;293:463) which expresses concerns about the potential lack of pre-registration placements for the increased number of pharmacy graduates. As a part-time university lecturer, I have talked to fourth-year pharmacy students who have told me they are struggling to find a pre-registration placement. This will only get worse because it has been decided that there will be no control on student numbers.
A five-year integrated pharmacy degree might be an answer to the increasing student numbers but many universities, especially the newer schools of pharmacy, may struggle to reform the undergraduate course into a five-year programme, thus delaying the control on student numbers.
To tell students at the start of a degree they may not have a job at the end of it is unfair. Also, with the influx of EU pharmacists, jobs are already competitive. I have heard that some pharmacists are being paid less that £10 an hour as a locum. This is absurd. Pharmacists are healthcare professionals. This sort of pay will undermine the profession.
Greg Clark, minister for universities, science and cities, was wrong not to cap student numbers. If he believes it is not necessary to cap student numbers for pharmacy, then how can the cap on medical and dental students be justified? Are pharmacists as a profession not seen as important to the government as other healthcare providers?