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5 black African trainee pharmacists to be offered share of £7k bursary

Training company PrimaryHD has set aside £7,275 in bursaries for five black African pharmacy foundation trainees, to help “reduce the GPhC registration assessment attainment gap”.

Each bursary is worth £1,455 and will be awarded “over the next three to four weeks”, Primary Healthcare Development (PrimaryHD) head of education and co-founder Atif Saddiq told C+D yesterday (June 22).

The beneficiaries of the bursaries will have access to: “a monthly pre-registration revision programme”; support with pharmaceutical calculations; mock General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) registration assessments; and monthly mentorship with the UK Black Pharmacist Association (UKBPA).

The five trainees – who must be undertaking the 2021/22 foundation training year in community pharmacy – will be selected from and by each of the following universities:

  • Kingston University London
  • University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN)
  • University of Portsmouth
  • University of Reading
  • University of Wolverhampton
Lower GPhC exam pass rates

The five universities were selected based on their June 2019 pass rates, which they reported being lower than 65%.

This year’s results of the first-ever online GPhC assessment were not taken into account as “planning and discussions to bring the PrimaryHD bursary award to fruition had started in late 2020”, Mr Saddiq explained.

The pass rate for black or black British African candidates in the June 2019 exam was 60.7%, while it increased to 80.51% in the March 2021 assessment.

The bursary awards are “a small step towards exploring the reasons behind… the differential attainment in registration assessment results for candidates of black African origin”, Mr Saddiq said.

PrimaryHD may consider widening the eligibility criteria for the bursaries to other cohorts of students in the future, but the ringfenced funding will focus on black African candidates at present, Mr Saddiq specified.

He hopes that the bursaries “will not only help the five selected students but will hopefully serve the purpose of inspiring other organisations to look into solutions to narrow the attainment gap”.

PrimaryHD managing director Mohammed Imran said that since it was launched in 2018, the training company has always “been keen in ensuring that we give back to the sector by adding value to the development of healthcare professionals”.

“I am proud to see the PrimaryHD bursary award come to fruition as it is something we have been planning for a while,” he added, thanking both his staff and clients.

UKBPA president Elsy Gomez Campos said the organisation is looking forward to working with PrimaryHD on this project.

“This is a unique and exciting opportunity to support black pharmacy students and showcase the expertise of our members. This project goes hand in hand with our mission of supporting and promoting the interest of UK black pharmacy students and pharmacists,” Ms Gomez Campos said.

Dr Helen Hull, programme lead for pharmacy and pharmacology at the University of Portsmouth, said: “I am delighted that we have been asked to work with the PrimaryHD team to help reduce the GPhC registration assessment attainment gap.”

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