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”.