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GPhC: Majority support combining pharmacy degree and pre-reg year

GPhC: Training providers were concerned students might lose their pre-reg salary
GPhC: Training providers were concerned students might lose their pre-reg salary

Respondents to a GPhC consultation have broadly welcomed the proposal to combine the pharmacy degree and pre-registration training.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) consultation on “standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists” – which ran from January-April – proposed integrating the five years of initial education and training for pharmacists to attain a “stronger link” between academic study and practical experience.

A total of 108 pharmacy organisations and 542 individuals – including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, members of the public, and heads of pharmacy schools – responded to the consultation.

The majority – 75% and 77% respectively – supported the GPhC’s proposal, the regulator said in documents published ahead of its council meeting today (September 12).

However, “many responses were unsure about how integration would be implemented and were concerned about its funding”, the GPhC said.

Get the funding right

While two thirds of pharmacy schools agreed with combining the degree and practice-based learning, “a significant number” raised concerns about the “potential additional costs associated with offering an integrated MPharm degree” and feared some universities would stop offering these courses “if they considered them no longer viable”.

“They also did not think students should pay for a fifth year of education and training, as it would make pharmacy education much less attractive,” the GPhC said.

“Many schools asked for government funding to be explicitly confirmed before making changes to the standards for initial education and training,” the regulator added.

This view was shared by training providers who, according to the council papers, feared the measure could result in “students losing the pre-registration salary”.

Learning outcomes should replace performance standards

Almost three quarters (74%) of the respondents welcomed the GPhC’s proposal to replace pre-registration performance standards with “learning outcomes”, namely: person-centred care; professionalism; professional knowledge and skills; and collaboration.

The GPhC will present the findings of the consultation at its council meeting today and plans to “finalise, publish, and promote updated standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists” between October and December.

“We will take forward work with universities, students, employers, commissioners, regulators and funders of education and training to develop a better understanding of what ‘integration’ looks like in practice and how it could be achieved,” the GPhC said.

Are you in favour of combining the pharmacy degree and pre-reg year?

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Wouldn't be a bad idea to do the prereg at the start of the degree course then the students would realise how crappy this career is and not have to waste a further four years of their lives.

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

It's not fair to continue deceiving children in this way. There is no future in community pharmacy(where the majority are destined for) but these universities seem determined to screw yet more fees from them. Disgusting.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Why stop at that? Add another year of Clinical Pharmacist + any other new roles the Honorable friends at the Ivory towers are cooking up, and make it as equal as the GPs. Then may be the GP shortage problem sorted out??

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

Will they be paid for the 5th year? I would absolutely not have given up my pre-reg salary to pay another year in fees, even if there was some vague promise of 'a better experience'

Ronald Trump, Pharmaceutical Adviser

As pharmacists are becoming more involved in direct patient care with increasing clinical responsibility I think a five year integrated course is a great way that students can gain that supervised practical experience with  a variety of patients and pharmacists. It puts us more in line with the education structure medical students and may act ti raise the profile of the profession amongst our colleagues and public. Then we need to have more of a structure of postgrad training like diploma and IP for pharmacists in all relevant sectors. When I was younger it was do your 4 years in uni, get a pre- reg where your used as an extra dispenser, qualify and then thats it- no structured or guided path to further clinical training or education. If we get these structures in place for undergrad and post grad then the contribution that pharmacists can have to the NHS and healthcare will be enormous, when you consider ageing population, polypharmacy and chronic diseases.

Arun Bains, Community pharmacist

My tutor made me clean toilets and pull forward shelves. This would prevent students being used as a spare pair of hands.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Find out my other posts - I nearly had cyanide poisoning as a pre-reg. Never did me any harm......

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

I had to clean the floor and work in the shop for the first 8 weeks of my pre-reg and to be honest it did me the world of good.


Given how many locums I seem to meet who think being a pharmacist is something special and seem to have an air of superiority about themselves maybe a bit of time cleaning the floor would be welcome. Pre-regs are even more prone to this as they think they know everything and have zero responsibility/never have to back it up.


Bit of hazing never hurt anyone basically and if it means more pharmacists having the basic ability to get on with other human beings all the better.

Shahzad Aziz, Community pharmacist

Agree 100%. Some trainees have been mollycoddled and need to get their hands dirty!

Shahzad Aziz, Community pharmacist

Nothing wrong with learning some life skills. You obviously qualified so no harm in that.

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