Development of a proposed pharmacy degree apprenticeship has been paused for a second time to allow “misconceptions” to be addressed, according to a statement issued on behalf of the trailblazer group behind the proposals.
The group, which is made up of pharmacy employers, including Boots, LloydsPharmacy, Rowlands and Well, held a meeting in December 2019 to discuss progress on a second set of proposals for a pharmacy degree apprenticeship, after the initial process was halted in May 2019.
In a statement issued after the meeting, Skills for Health, which oversees development of the healthcare workforce, said: “The pharmacist apprenticeship development group decided that development on the proposal and standard should be paused whilst further engagement is undertaken with the sector to help address some of the misconceptions about degree apprenticeships and their relationship to regulated occupations.”
The statement also included a quote from the two chairs of the trailblazer group, Claire Flavell, strategic lead for the Lincolnshire Talent Academy at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, and Vanessa Kingsbury, training co-ordinator at Blackwell Medical Services, which said: “Having discussed with the development group, we feel that the group’s focus should be on awareness raising with the pharmacy sector in order to dispel further misconceptions about degree apprenticeships. We will be contacting those professional bodies that have taken an avid interest to invite them to further engage with us.
Pharmacy apprenticeships were first proposed as part of a 10-day consultation, which was launched on 10 April 2019. Following several criticisms, the plans were halted after arms-length government organisation, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, said the trailblazer group should be expanded to include representatives from the wider pharmacy industry.
In October 2019, a revamped version of the proposals were announced, with the group saying that it would take into account “issues and concerns” raised and agreeing that “more transparency in the process is needed and further engagement through a longer consultation period is required”. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the General Pharmaceutical Council, Health Education England and the National Pharmacy Association were providing “input and advice” on the process.