The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has opened its consultation on the initial education and training standards for pharmacists.
The proposals follow those put to the regulatory body’s council meeting on 8 November 2018, including a single set of standards covering the five-year period of education and preregistration training for pharmacists. However, in the consultation document, the GPhC points out that the requirement for pharmacists to complete at least five years’ initial education and training is set out in an EU directive.
“These requirements may change depending on the outcome of Brexit negotiations,” it notes.
At the November 2018 council meeting it had also been suggested that course providers would be required to “to conduct face-to-face interviews” — through Skype or FaceTime if necessary. The consultation document released on 9 January 2019 uses different language, stating instead that the admissions process should include an “interactive component”, which could take the form of “multiple mini interviews and group work”.
The standards need to be revised, the GPhC said, so that future pharmacists can meet the expectation that they will relieve some pressure on the NHS by delivering more services across a greater variety of healthcare settings. The proposed new standards are “heavily focused on clinical skills and on the importance of communicating effectively with people”, but, the body emphasised, “still recognise the critical importance of science”.
Although the GPhC regulates pharmacy education in Great Britain, the proposed standards have been prepared in collaboration with the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI). With support from the PSNI, the views of Northern Irish stakeholders on the proposals will be considered.
The consultation closes on 3 April 2019.