Pharmacists cautious about including prescribing as core skill in initial education

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Pharmacists and their employers are cautious about including prescribing as a core skill within the initial professional education and training of pharmacists, according to responses to a discussion paper published by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

Pharmacists and other stakeholders agree in principle that independent prescribing for pharmacists is good for the profession but they have reservations about introducing prescribing skills into an already packed undergraduate curriculum. Some are also concerned that there would be little opportunity for prescribing experience during the undergraduate degree.

The comments are at odds with the suggestion from the GPhC that prescribing should be included in core standards of a pharmacist’s initial education and training.

The views are revealed in the report ‘Tomorrows pharmacy team’, launched on 10 November 2015 at a national conference held by the GPhC to consider how pharmacy education and training needs to change to ensure it is fit for the future.

The GPhC had suggested that all pharmacists should in future learn about clinical diagnosis and decision-making “building towards prescribing being a core skill rather than an extra area of competence”.

The report suggests that pharmacists are keen to see science maintained as the basis of professional education and training but that they also want a focus on developing other core skills, including management and leadership.

Around 200 delegates – including pharmacists, patients, government representatives and training providers – were expected to attend the conference, which will help inform the GPhC as it redrafts the initial education and training standards for the pharmacy team. 

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Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, November 2015, Vol 295, No 7883;295(7883):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20200053