Plans proposed by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) for five years of integrated pharmacy education and training are “severely lacking in detail”, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has said.
In its response to the GPhC’s consultation on initial education and training standards for pharmacists, the PDA suggested that the GPhC “not make any changes as a result of this consultation”.
Instead, it said the GPhC should “consider the responses to this consultation and put forward a more detailed consultation at a later date to allow better informed responses”.
In its consultation, the GPhC proposed closer integration between “study and practical learning and to set the learning outcomes to be achieved over five years to adequately prepare student pharmacists for their future roles”.
However, the PDA said it could not take a position on the proposals on the basis that “more information is needed” on how the integration “would work in practice”.
“We are opposed to pharmacy students having to pay course fees for a five-year degree course instead of a four-year one as at present, or losing a year of earning potential as a pre-reg,” the response said, adding that access to an education in pharmacy for those who are less affluent “must be protected”.
The PDA said it agreed with the view put forward by the Pharmacy Schools Council which expressed concern that the proposals would be undeliverable “without appropriate funding”.
“Employers and universities would need to know details of the funding arrangements before they would be able to provide fully informed comments on this matter,” the PDA said, adding that while universities receive £9,250 in funding each year per student, “the GPhC has made no mention of whether or not this additional funding would be available for the additional year”.
The PDA’s response comes after community pharmacy organisations warned that their commitment to offering training placements could be withdrawn if the sector was not closely involved in discussions about the proposed changes.