The British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA) has said it “tends to disagree” with plans put forward by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) to integrate the five years of initial training and education for pharmacists.
In a draft response to the GPhC’s consultation on changes to initial education and training standards for pharmacists, the BPSA said “most” of the students who responded to its request for views on the GPhC plans “disagreed with the notion of setting integrated standards for the five years of education”.
The BPSA draft response also noted that “placements earlier in the degree (in first and second year) as part of ‘learning in practice’ [the GPhC’s new term for preregistration training] would not be beneficial in a practical sense owing to the inability to utilise knowledge (as they would not have acquired a wealth of knowledge)”.
The GPhC consultation, which outlines a proposal for the education and training standards to have “a greater focus on clinical skills, on communicating with patients and on working effectively with other health and care professionals”, is due to close on 3 April 2019.
The BPSA is expecting to submit a final draft of its response before then, but its draft response said students “lauded the proposal to have an integrated degree albeit merely theoretically and were not convinced that it could be enforced in a way that did not negatively affect students”.
It added: “It was widely believed that the proposals were not written with the interest of students’ development in mind but rather a result of financial constraints.”
The response also expressed some concern over the expectation that after the five years of training are completed, “pharmacists will be required to be able to make diagnostic decisions alone and do so in a real environment”.
The BPSA added that the feedback from students “cautioned the notion of being expected to diagnose any condition, pointing out that they would be happy to diagnose some conditions, namely common ailments, but that others would require extra training”.
The BPSA has invited further comments on its draft response from students ahead of its final submission.