The Pharmacy Schools’ Council (PhSC) has suggested implementing post-registration training following the pharmacy foundation year, which could replace preregistration training from September 2021.
In a position statement published on 14 August 2020, the council said a year of post-registration training would provide a “broader prescribing competence” in the profession.
The council’s statement follows suggestions from Health Education England (HEE) and NHS England on 24 July 2020 that a 12-month national foundation programme could replace the preregistration year from summer 2021.
The Education Governance Oversight Board, which includes the four chief pharmaceutical officers (CPOs) of the UK and Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), had expressed support for the proposals, according to a letter sent on 28 July 2020 signed by the four CPOs, alongside Rudkin and Trevor Patterson, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland.
The letter added that, on completion of the foundation year, new registrants would be independent prescribers, subject to “appropriate consultation”.
The PhSC said its “suggested approach” to the initial education and training reforms would be to follow a four-year degree with a “post-graduation foundation year 1 (FY1) which in turn would be followed by foundation year 2 (FY2) following registration”.
This would facilitate “advanced practice as appropriate for the practitioner and the sector in which they choose to work”.
“The PhSC considers the most viable practical means to bring the profession towards broader prescribing competence would be to have graduates prepared with the theoretical principles underpinning prescribing roles … by the end of FY1, with the formal qualification taking place in FY2,” the statement said.
It added that the theoretical principles would include “the scientific, legal, psychological, behavioural and practical processes necessary to develop as a safe and effective prescriber”.
The PhSC said it supports the idea of the degree and FY1 being covered by a common set of initial education and training standards, developed with and overseen by the GPhC.
It emphasised that higher education institutes should “continue to have a leading role”, alongside stakeholders and employers, in developing standards and education delivery for both foundation years.
Duncan Craig, chair of the PhSC, told The Pharmaceutical Journal that if the preregistration year “becomes a foundation year, it is inevitable that post-registration training will still be required”.
“We are not suggesting a two-year continuous foundation [training programme], rather we are trying to differentiate between the two stages of educational development pre- and post-registration,” he clarified.
Craig added in a statement that pharmacy schools “would like to reiterate their support for the proposed changes to initial education and training”.
“In particular, the provision of a greater level of continuity from undergraduate recruitment through to advanced practice is very welcome.
A spokesperson for the GPhC welcomed “the constructive engagement from the PhSC and its support for the revision of pharmacist education and training standards.
“We are continuing to engage with a wide range of stakeholders prior to finalising the standards, including on how the preregistration year will develop into a foundation year, and on any subsequent education and training thereafter.”
The Pharmaceutical Journal has approached HEE for comment.