Pharmacy student numbers will not be controlled

The number of pharmacy students will not be capped, says Health Education England (HEE)

Pharmacy student numbers will not be capped, says Health Education England (HEE) in the long-awaited response to a consultation on pharmacy education and training reforms. 

Introduction of an intake control was the highly favoured option by the majority of the 183 respondents to the consultation, but HEE, the agency responsible for the training of NHS staff, went against this. “In light of the wider higher education policy on student intake controls announced in the 2013 Autumn Statement a student intake control for MPharm students will not be introduced,” it said. 

HEE says it is working with the Department of Health on the options for introducing a five-year degree with integrated work placements. This would replace the current four-year degree plus the pre-registration work placement year. The work placements are partially funded by the government, so will still require NHS planning. 

In 2013, in light of the growing number of pharmacy schools and a predicted oversupply of pharmacists, HEE together with Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE) suggested three options for tackling pharmacy student numbers: allow the free market to continue, control student numbers or create a break point into the degree. The Pharmacy Schools Council, which represents 27 schools, has welcomed the announcement, saying it is imperative that the contribution of the “profession to healthcare is recognised and that there is scope to consider the role of pharmacists in the future”. 

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 25 October 2014, Vol 293, No 7833;293(7833):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2014.20066866

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