Scottish negotiator 'delighted' to help refugee pharmacists

NHS Education for Scotland supports pharmacists complete their required English tests in order to work

Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) has welcomed a scheme to support refugee pharmacists to get back into work.

The NHS Education for Scotland refugee doctors' scheme is designed to assist asylum seeking doctors achieve registration with the General Medical Council (GMC).

While it does not recruit pharmacists "directly", the programme also supports pharmacists and dentists with their International English Language Testing System (IELTS), NES said.

CPS told C+D on Wednesday (February 15) it recognises the distress that may be caused by being forced “not only out of your home and country, but your career too”.

The Scottish negotiator said it would "endeavour to direct any enquiries from refugee pharmacists to the relevant departments in both NES and the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), so that the journey towards [resettlement] can start as soon as possible”.

“Once eligible to enrol as a pre-registration student, the community pharmacy sector will consider all applications on their individual merit, giving equal opportunities to all,” CPS added.

NES told C+D that it would support refugee pharmacists with the IELTS, and thereafter they would need to meet any other GPhC requirements to register.

The refugee doctors’ programme has been running since 2014. Health professionals are eligible for the programme if they live in Scotland, have refugee status, are currently applying for asylum or are appealing against the refusal of asylum and have a qualification from a medical school recognised by the World Health Organisation. 

Between October 2015 and March 2016, 610 Syrian refugees arrived and were resettled in Scotland, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Should NHS England adopt a scheme like this?

Amanda Smith, Community pharmacist

Intrigued to know why someone who objects to 'international criminals who have crossed multiple borders' looking for work has decided to call himself Han Solo? #irony

Billy Black, Community pharmacist

Political comments are unnecessary.  The question the editor raised was should England also adopt such a scheme. Please refer to the recent guidance from the Pharmaceutical Council.You can even air your views using their consultation tool Mr Solo( please post your real name as it allows for a better relationship). 


Han Solo MPharm The coolest pharmacist in the galaxy , Locum pharmacist

Billy, who are you?

Who are you to tell me political questions are unnecessary?

This may be the case in your favourite countries North Korea and the former USSR but here in Britain and the West we are granted political freedoms and freedom of expression thought and opinions.

This situation has the potential to put British pharmacists out of a job, alter the work force numbers, the job market and our abilities to pay mortgages and pay off debt. Only 10% of refugees have actually made it to Western Europe and more are yet to follow. In front of all of this you came out with "political questions are unnecessary." I don’t see you saying the same thing when Westminster cuts affect your funding?

In regards to my name. If you are implying that I would somehow hide myself you are wrong, I have discussed this with other colleagues and members of the general public. 

I am telling you what the majority of the country is thinking. You Champagne socialists as usual are completely out of touch with the general public and reality.

We have no shortage and hence the answer is no. They could have claimed asylum in many other EU countries before the UK and hence we should see if Pharmacists are needed there first. Look at the “Dublin II” clause.

In regards to refugees:

My stand point is that they are not real refugees and hence are not entitled to that status. They are also responsible for violating borders and physical damage to border fences. They are also responsible for scuffles with border security on the eastern European borders. So their criminal history is certainly in question.


Should we take in exceptional cases? Yes

Amongst the Refugees, we can only take them if they are genuine refugees, i.e. discriminated Christian or Yazidi minority groups. The others are not valid for refugee status.

If these potential pharmacists are “Christian or Yazidi” they are welcome. They are genuine refugees suffering horrific discrimination, trafficking, sex slavery and abuse. We can take them in on humanitarian grounds.

Billy Black, Community pharmacist

One further point Mr Solo. What are your views on providing pharmaceutical services personally to refugees?

Han Solo MPharm The coolest pharmacist in the galaxy , Locum pharmacist

Absolutly, we can provide NHS assistance to refugees, why would we not?

Michael Champion, Pre-reg Pharmacist

And the difference between Christians and Yazidi pharmacists, and Muslim, atheist, gay etc. pharmacists is? They would be refugees if they are fleeing political or religious persecution. In the areas affected by Da'esh, all of the above groups are subject to fatal persecution. 

Han Solo MPharm The coolest pharmacist in the galaxy , Locum pharmacist

Who said there was a difference Michael?

A refugee is somebody fleeing persecution, in genuine fear of their lives etc. The Christian and Yazidi, Gay would be discriminated minority groups and should be given preferential treatment in any such program. I believe the United States is adopting this policy. 

In regards to the rest. The Sunni Muslim group are the numerically socially economically dominant group, The Shia Muslims are also a dominant group who control their governments and are backed by their powerful Shia Neighbour Iran. They do not come under disadvantaged or vulnerable minority groups. But this is an entirely different matter and not related to the question of this thread.

I do not know what the gob market is like in Scotland, but I know here in England it is not ideal. We already have a surplus with home grown, EU and rest of the world registrants.

Those who are on cosy NHS jobs with an NHS pension are not going to be badly affected by an influx. This will affect all of us who work in the Private sector including community pre regs, and those in their final years of university ready to come out onto our job market in a few years.

Let’s face it, we have community superintendents who employ EU pharmacists for £10 and hour and they will be more than happy to exploit Syrian refugee pharmacists too. To assume there will be no exploitation is naive. Nobody wins in this unfortunate situation home grown or surplus.

Billy Black, Community pharmacist

Really do not know how to respond to this  personal attack and even more political nonsense. This is not a political site it is a pharmaceutical based website. Each of your posts on whatever article are laced with right wing politics. I for one do not wish to see them on here. They have no place on this site. Your biased opinions and assumptions are way off the mark. Who are you Mr Han Solo? Why are you so reluctant to reveal you identity? Please visit the General Pharmaceutical Council website and inform them of your personal views. Disgusted.

Han Solo MPharm The coolest pharmacist in the galaxy , Locum pharmacist

Get a grip Billy Black. You can't associate a differing political opinion to your own as "self-victimisation" another hallmark trait of the left. Everything "offends" you these days, anything that isn’t left in orientation. 

Billy, I don’t care about your personal preference, "I do not want to see them on here" this is not your dad's forum. Typical hallmark left trait, "if it isn’t left I don’t want to see or hear it" get a grip, right wing populous is rising, deal with it.

My opinions are not biased, they are based on facts. European politicians are themselves saying that only 10% of refugees have arrived thus far into Western Europe, this means that if 610 refugees were accepted by Britain the potential number would be 6100. That is without Germany asking the UK to take more. 

This is thanks to Cameron who stated the sensible idea that we would only take refugees from the camps. That would be the only way you could guarantee taking in genuine refugees.  But if you look at main land Europe the majority of them are not real refugees. 90% of them are young healthy men between 18-40 and less than 2% are actually children. They are finding Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Afghan ID's discarded at the Eastern European Borders, hence further proof that many are not even associated with the Syrian crisis.

As somebody on here earlier very rightly said, we should only take them if there is a shortage otherwise the answer is no. 

Just because my opinion is not what you want to hear it does not make it any less valid. This is what you get in democratic societies. 

When we sign up on here we sign up with our real names, our email addresses and GPhC number if memory serves me well. I am perfectly identifiable. 

In regards to your comments in relation to the GPhC, if the GPhC believe that my opinion is wrong, they are free to disagree with it as i am free to disagree with their view point, assuming they have a different take on this question. 

In regards to the above question, should NHS England offer a similar approach? My answer is no. I am not concerned, if you don’t like it, deal with it. I dislike your opinion but I haven’t told you to not post them or even change them. It is your democratic right to oppose my views.

I have provided my reasons on why my answer is no, you are free to disagree with them but you are not free to tell me to take my views somewhere else as if you own this forum or not post them if they oppose your political leaning.

Han Solo MPharm The coolest pharmacist in the galaxy , Locum pharmacist

The legal clause known as "Dublin II" states that a country reserves the legal right to remove any asylum seeker to the first safe point of entry into the European Union. 

Whilst they are free to claim asylum in the UK the UK has the right to remove them to the first safe point of entry within the EU on the grounds that they could have done it there. That would be Greece. 

The refugees then had the opportunity to claim asylum in the following countries.  Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria before coming into Germany, and Western Europe.

By international convention Turkey is their first safe country.

I hope those countries are in need of Pharmacists they would be of more use there if they are unwilling to provide clinical and medical services for their own military or their own civillian population who are bady affected by this conflict.

Gavin Dobson, Academic pharmacist

Take care of yourself Han. I guess that's what you're best at, isn't it?

Han Solo MPharm The coolest pharmacist in the galaxy , Locum pharmacist

No Gavin, I’m taking care of our own.

Charity begins at home. We have plenty of British graduates who need stable employment to pay of their debts and mortgages. 

First we must feed ourselves before we can feed others.

Don’t be another brainwashed lefty.

Han Solo MPharm The coolest pharmacist in the galaxy , Locum pharmacist

*This comment has been deleted for breaching C+D's community principles*

Michael Champion, Pre-reg Pharmacist

Your argument here is cognitively dissonant - you state that British pharmacists removed from the register for convictions should be reinstated before those seeking refuge, and then contradict yourself by saying pharmacists should be held up as "model citizens". The pharmacists in question in this article have not been convicted, and bring skills that may be useful in meeting the needs of the health economy rather than risking violent consequences in their country of origin due to factors beyond the law (including secular and religious insurgency).

What is being proposed is a minute provision to ensure those that have sought asylum (and not been pursued by the Home Department) are triaged appropriately so they can continue to work in their profession. This coming from a "young British pharmacy graduate" (starting pre-reg later this year) that would be delighted to work with a pharmacist regardless of where they come from.

Han Solo MPharm The coolest pharmacist in the galaxy , Locum pharmacist

Dear Michael,

The Pharmacists in this article haven’t been convicted, but they potentially can be and should be. They have violated numerous sovereign borders. Their status as refugees is also internationally defunct as they left their first safe country. Therefore by law these people are illegal immigrants. It is a criminal offence to violate a countries sovereign borders it is illegal to enter any country without permission from their immigration department. These refugees have also caused criminal damage to physical borders and fences and are liable to pay the costs for those repairs. Some have engaged in violent scuffles with border security which is also a crime.

My point about our own convicted pharmacists is that both they "refugees" and ours are criminals. If we won’t accept our own convicts, why would we accept illegal immigrants who have committed numerous crimes on their way here? 

You stated "meeting the needs of a healthy economy"

How do you consider our economy healthy? There is an oversupply in our market.

Violent consequences?

They are Syrians who should enlist in their own armies. Imagine if all of the European men fled rather than fight Nazi Germany? European men were conscripted enlisted and fought.

You have been brainwashed by the left and other champagne socialists roaming about university campuses. Conservative estimates tell us that only 10% of the total number of refugees have made it here into Western Europe so this number of refugee pharmacists is only set to balloon.

You are too young and naive to see the consequences for your own future. Pre Reg will be one thing but wait until you actually come out onto the current market.

Michael Champion, Pre-reg Pharmacist

To address your points sequentially: 

A) Presumably you mean the Dublin III Regulation 2013 (the successor to the Dublin Convention and Dublin II Regulation), indicating that refugees can only seek asylum in one country (that where they first apply). Regulations which, in themselves, indirectly increase pressure on those countries closest to the affected area, and can increase risk of return to the country where they are persecuted. If they are here and have been granted refugee status, we should be supporting them to return to practice, and therefore utilise their specialist skills. 

B) The health economy (which is what I stated in my initial comment) and a "healthy economy" (which you have used since) are two discreet concepts. The health economy would benefit from having a greater number of pharmacists to take on new and developing roles (including as second pharmacists, GP pharmacists etc), which students are in favour of pursuing and developing, in community and beyond. 

C) Comparing the complexities of the Middle East crisis to the opposition to Nazi Germany in the 1930s to 1940s is facile. Also to refute your assertion regarding conscription, pharmacists (as a healthcare profession) may be considered reserved occupations (depending on the law in that country), but still liable to persecution by threats that would ignore the Geneva Convention (Da'esh and other terrorist groups).

Coda: Your ad hominems have been treated with the contempt they deserve.

Han Solo MPharm The coolest pharmacist in the galaxy , Locum pharmacist

Behold the ramblings of a mad champagne socialist student.

A) The Dublin accord dictates that it is the first point of EU entry that is responsible for an asylum claim. I don’t know what you’re trying to achieve by being “Mr Smarty pants” stating that it was succeeded by Dublin III but the end point is the same, Greece was their first point of entry and thus it is Greece's responsibility. 

B) Don't be deluded. We have a surplus here in Britain and we have more than enough to meet the new demands of new roles. We do not need an extra influx that will only increase as more arrive.

C) The complexity of the Middle East is a different matter entirely. However the principle of conflict is the same. Healthy young men between the ages 18-40 are conscripts and instead of being here, they need to enlist in their own armies and safeguard their country.

They being pharmacists does not give them preferential treatment. They are 18-40 and can be conscripted, the same way men were conscripted in Europe and North America to fight WWII.

You represent the typical student these days, completely brainwashed by Lefties and associating nonsense rambling with intelligence. 

Michael Champion, Pre-reg Pharmacist

A) I like to ensure I have all the information written down, a stylistic quirk. My take is that the Dublin Regulation is too restrictive and places undue pressure on the countries nearest the impacted area. Therefore, if the UK (or its devolved administrations) want to accept refugees, a policy such as this (aiding integration and continuing their career) is a positive one. 

B) Your position is contradictory, calling people that disagree with you "champagne socialists" whilst calling for a policy which is implicitly protectionist of pharmacists already working here. There is no breakdown of what absolute numbers of pharmacists we are even arguing here (610 refugees, but no breakdown of what their composition was), and therefore what implications they would have on workforce sustainability in pharmacy. 

C) The complexities of foreign policy directly impact the decisions about conflict; fight for a dictator who's potentially complicit with genocide, fight for religious fundamentalists, or refuse on principle and result in persection? Also, pharmacists are often a protected / reserved occupation, and in those cases would get preferred treatment (whether they are or not depends on the legislation in the country, and the ethical choices of the pharmacist there). 

Billy Black, Community pharmacist

Welcome to the profession young man.

Han Solo MPharm The coolest pharmacist in the galaxy , Locum pharmacist

I see the editor deleted my comments about these people not being real refugees.

Can you please explain on what basis they were deleted and what community rules were violated so that i may consult my solicitor in regards to Political discrimination and violation of the freedom of speech enshrined in the British Constitution. I await your reply.

Cathy Cooke, Primary care pharmacist




What nasty comments.  Nobody is being recruited, they're being supported to gain registration if they want to pursue their pharmacy career.  The numbers will be small.

I've always found having a slight surplus of pharmacists looking for jobs to be an advantage - no need to be forced to consider arrogant, intolerant candidates who wouldn't fit in the team.

Han Solo MPharm The coolest pharmacist in the galaxy , Locum pharmacist

*This comment has been deleted for breaching C+D's community principles*

Cathy Cooke, Primary care pharmacist

Mr Solo, you're making assumptions.  I'm well aware of the current community pharmacy 'job market'.  I agree that a large surplus of pharmacists is bad and am in favour of the capping of university places to match future demand.

I've never been called nasty before so you'll be pleased to know that I'm leaving my current role at the end of March.

Han Solo MPharm The coolest pharmacist in the galaxy , Locum pharmacist

Cathy, I’m glad you agree about the current job market for community pharmacy and you are part of the common sense lot in regards to capping places.

I am sorry you are leaving your current position. If you are leaving for better opportunities I give you my most sincere congratulations.

Could you please make sure your vacancy goes to a Syrian refugee rather than a British applicant? 

I hope you can see the point I am making with this last line here.

Han Solo MPharm The coolest pharmacist in the galaxy , Locum pharmacist

There is list of british Pharmacists struck off for criminal convictions. Bring them back into the profession first before we allow syrian international criminals who have crossed multiple borders illegally to join our register.

Billy Black, Community pharmacist

Absolutely we should adopt such a scheme.These professionals have suffered enough trauma without being lost in whatever country they find themselves in. Great response from CPS.The numbers involved will be so small that there will be no effect on pharmacists jobs. 

Han Solo MPharm The coolest pharmacist in the galaxy , Locum pharmacist

*This comment has been deleted for breaching C+D's community principles*

Han Solo MPharm The coolest pharmacist in the galaxy , Locum pharmacist

*This comment has been deleted for breaching C+D's community principles*

John Randell, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

These people leave their countries and all they know, and flee pain, war suffering ...why would youo then come to the uk to endure more pain war, suffering lol bieng a pharmacist

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Should NHS England adopt a scheme like this?

If there is a shortage then by all means. Otherwise, absolutely not.


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