More than a third of all provisionally registered pharmacists in England have yet to sign up to the new national interim foundation programme, which began in September 2020.
Figures released by Health Education England (HEE) on 3 November 2020 showed that there were 1400 participants on its interim foundation pharmacist programme (IFPP), meaning that 62% of the 2248 provisionally registered pharmacists in England are undertaking the voluntary programme.
The IFPP was introduced in September 2020, with HEE saying it was intended to support provisionally registered pharmacists in England as they “transition to full GPhC [General Pharmaceutical Council] registration and beyond”.
Foundation training for pharmacists has long been in the pipeline and NHS England’s ‘Interim NHS people plan’, published in June 2019, announced that HEE and NHS England would “explore development” of a foundation programme by March 2020.
But in July 2020, HEE and NHS England announced their intention to replace the preregistration year with a foundation year from summer 2021, with the interim foundation programme beginning in September 2020.
TheIFPP does not provide protected learning time, but it does include educational supervision and workplace assessments.
HEE said the IFPP was intended to complement existing workplace foundation programmes, where those are available, and provisionally registered pharmacists have the option to do both.
A spokesperson for Boots told The Pharmaceutical Journal that the multiple currently employs around 400 provisionally registered pharmacists, all of whom are on the Boots foundation programme. The spokesperson added that around 80% of Boots’ provisionally registered pharmacists in England had also enrolled on the IFPP.
A spokesperson for LloydsPharmacy said that the company currently employs 146 provisionally registered pharmacists, who will only undertake its internal programme — but the multiple was in the process of aligning its own foundation programme to the HEE interim foundation programme in England.
In Wales and Scotland, the spokesperson said that, where possible, LloydsPharmacy would aim to support national foundation programmes, but where this was not possible, “we will of course provide them with access to our internal programme”.