The European Association of Healthcare Pharmacists (EAHP) has called for a common training framework for hospital pharmacists across Europe.
Publishing the findings from its Labour Mobility report, which looks at pharmacists’ attitudes to the introduction of a cross-border training framework (CTF), the EAHP said that hospital pharmacists had an “appetite for labour mobility which is currently not realised due to recognition barriers”.
The report surveyed 1,039 hospital, clinical and community pharmacists across Europe and found that 85% of hospital pharmacists and heads of hospital pharmacy said they would support the creation of a CTF for the hospital pharmacy specialisation.
They agreed that an automatic cross-border training framework would lead to an easier exchange of expertise; a standardisation in the quality of education; and an increase in mobility opportunities.
The survey found that 88% of pharmacists said they had not moved abroad because of the difficulties with the current system meaning their qualifications were not recognised in other EU member states.
The results also showed that those surveyed believed that a CTF would lead to a “tremendous improvement in patient care in Europe”.
Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists (GHP) chair of practice Ewan Maule said he supported the EAHP’s efforts to reduce barriers to labour mobility.
“We recognise the very real contribution that pharmacists from across Europe have brought to the healthcare system in the United Kingdom,” he said.
“We also recognise the opportunity that free movement and reciprocal recognition of qualifications provides to UK pharmacists who wish to work abroad.”
He said the CTF was an “important step towards facilitating this”.
“By promoting standardisation in the quality of education and qualification the EAHP is supporting the growth of the pharmacy profession across the continent and driving up standards in pharmacy practice,” he added.
However, he warned that uncertainty over Brexit had already had a “significant impact on the recruitment and retention of European pharmacists in the UK”.
“This is placing additional strain on an already overstretched workforce and presents a risk to the quality of care the NHS can provide,” he said.