The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has said that it will “take forward work” on implementing five-year integrated education and training for pharmacy students after more than two-thirds of respondents to a consultation agreed with the proposal.
The consultation, which ran from January 2019 to April 2019, asked whether respondents agree or disagree that the GPhC “should set integrated standards for the five years of education of training”.
Of the 621 responses, 45% said they “strongly agree”, while 31% said they “tend to agree”.
In its papers published ahead of a council meeting on 12 September 2019, the GPhC said that it now wants to “develop a better understanding of what ‘integration’ [of education and training] looks like in practice” by doing more work with representatives of the academic sector, employers, and funders of education.
It added that the further discussions “will take account of the practical suggestions and challenges highlighted in the consultation”.
According to the papers, the consultation responses expressed concern about “the resources available to fund integrated programmes and expressed concerns about the potentially negative impact integration could have on students, schools of pharmacy and training providers”.
Several pharmacy bodies, including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Pharmacy Schools Council, warned that universities could drop MPharm programmes if the student placements are not funded, posing a risk to the future of the pharmacy workforce.
Due to “the potential scale of the changes” proposed by the consultation, the GPhC said it will do more work with stakeholders on all aspects of the proposals before implementing any changes.