Foundation year independent prescriber training will not begin in 2021, GPhC confirms

The General Pharmaceutical Council said its aim is for students who begin their MPharm degree in future to be independent prescribers by the time they join the register. 

hospital pharmacist preparing prescription

Pharmacists who begin the new national foundation training year in 2021 will not undergo independent prescriber training, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has confirmed.

In July 2020, a letter from the GPhC and the four UK chief pharmaceutical officers said that, as part of plans to reform initial education and training, the current pre-registration year would be replaced with a national foundation year, starting from summer 2021. One aim of this foundation year 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”.

But in an update published on 10 September 2020, the GPhC said that the aim was for students who begin their MPharm degree in the future to be independent prescribers by the time they join the register. The practical detail of this is, it said, subject to consultation and “separate independent prescribing courses for registered pharmacists will remain in place for the foreseeable future”.

The latest update also said that current MPharm students will not have to pay additional fees for their foundation training year. A spokesperson for the GPhC confirmed to The Pharmaceutical Journal that foundation trainees will continue to be employed and paid during the foundation training year.

Responding to the latest update, Gail Fleming, Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) director for education and professional development, said the Society was “ready to support the GPhC with this in any way we can”.

Fleming added that while the RPS welcomed the news that current MPharm students would not have to pay additional fees for the foundation year, “we need clarification on what the financial impact will be on future MPharm students as well as confirmation that funding for additional clinical placements in years 1–4 will be available if we are to upskill future graduates to become independent prescribers”.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, September 2020;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2020.20208368