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CPS wants role in plans for 5-year Scottish MPharm degree

Community Pharmacy Scotland: Only change system if there is benefit to students

Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) has called for input into a government discussion on the potential for a five-year integrated pharmacy degree.

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) announced last week (August 12) that it is “exploring options” to replace the existing system of a four-year pharmacy degree and one-year pre-registration training, with a five-year integrated degree.

Responding to the news, CPS said it would "definitely like to be involved" in any discussions on the future of pharmacy education in Scotland.

 “Any solution would have to encompass the pharmacy network as the bulk of the workforce,” the organisation's director of operations Matt Barclay told C+D yesterday (August 18). 

“Ultimately, if there was a move to [a five-year degree], it would hopefully benefit the trainees or there would be no point in changing [it],” he added.

"Meeting workforce demand"

Scotland’s chief pharmaceutical officer Rose Marie Parr said last week that introducing a five-year degree could help to manage student numbers to "meet workforce demand".

It would also better prepare trainees to become pharmacists, by integrating pre-reg training with undergraduate study, she added.

Improving tutor accountabilty

Newly-qualified pharmacist Thorrun Govind suggested that the five-year integrated degree could improve the quality of pre-reg tutors by making them "more accountable". 

A pharmacy academic, who did not wish to be named, told C+D that if the model is eventually adopted, it would be “interesting” to see whether the integrated degree has a positive effect on Scottish students’ exam results.

NES’s “tried and tested system” of centrally allocating pre-reg placements could make adopting an integrated degree less complicated in Scotland than it would in England, the academic added. 

Last year, the General Pharmaceutical Council said it was “convinced” by the five-year integrated degree, and pointed out that the existing system does not provide trainees with enough “first-hand experience of patient-centred care”.


Do you think a five-year integrated degree would benefit trainee pharmacists?

Din Patel, Manager

5 years to earn peanuts? Seriously? Make it a 1 year course and demand 3A grades.

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

plus there will be 3,000 less pharmacies to work in by then.

Margaret O'doherty, Community pharmacist

It is worth noting that students would have to pay fees for five years instead of four although Scottish students don't pay fees (at the moment). Also all students would lose out on the year's income that they presently earn during pre-reg. This will make pharmacy an expsensive option and out of the reach of many.

Din Patel, Manager

This comment shows the intelligence of pharmacists and demonstrates why they are worth less every year. You get a loan and only pay back on a sliding scale, Why is it out of the reach?
Pharmacy is a women's job with low pay.

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

5 years in uni for £18 an hour? Doesn't really add up. Do economics instead...

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