Regulator will ‘specifically engage’ with Pharmacy Schools Council over education proposals

Nigel Clarke, former chair of the GPhC

The chair of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has said he plans to “specifically engage” with the Pharmacy Schools Council (PSC) on funding for its new education and training standards.

Nigel Clarke’s comments came after the PSC chair Nigel Ratcliffe criticised the GPhC for failing to include any funding detail in its consultation on new training and education standards that could see the implementation of five-year MPharm programmes.

The consultation, which ran for 12 weeks from January to April 2019, was met with widespread concern from the sector, including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, which expressed concern that the proposals would be “extremely challenging” to deliver without additional funding and resources. Similarly, the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association said the proposals were not written with student development in mind.

But, speaking at the GPhC’s most recent council meeting, held on 11 April 2019, Clarke said he “wanted to reassure council [members] that we’re not going to rush the fences on this”.

“It is not going to be straightforward. No two schools are identical,” he said, adding that the consultation was “more a case of making sure that there’s a broad agreement of the achievability of the ambitions” and the GPhC plans to “specifically engage” with the PSC on funding.

In response, Ratcliffe told The Pharmaceutical Journal that the PSC offered “to explain [to the GPhC] how universities and how pharmacy education is financed so that before anything is imposed there is an understanding of what the circumstances actually are because that is certainly needed before this moves forward”.

Ratcliffe added that the consultation raised “many other serious concerns” that also need to be discussed, including “how the differential skills of the pharmacist are going to be maintained in their new proposals and how we maintain pharmacy as an attractive degree for both students to enter and universities to deliver”.

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The Pharmaceutical Journal, Regulator will 'specifically engage' with Pharmacy Schools Council over education proposals;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20206453

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