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PDA concerned pharmacists still sidelined from apprenticeship proposal

PDA and GHP: Pharmacists fear a poorly devised and delivered apprenticeship
PDA and GHP: Pharmacists fear a poorly devised and delivered apprenticeship

The PDA is “disappointed and concerned” that pharmacists' views could be ignored for the second time, as proposals for a pharmacist apprenticeship are revived.

An initial apprenticeship proposal was “abandoned” in May, as employers failed to consider “rank and file pharmacists’” voices until a final consultation on the scheme was launched, the Pharmacists’ Defence Union (PDA) and fellow trade union the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists (GHP) said in a joint statement yesterday (November 25).

However, not-for-profit organisation the Workforce Development Trust announced last month that the group of pharmacy employers behind the original proposal will develop a second one, “taking into account the issues and concerns that have been raised”.

The trade unions claimed in a letter that while business owners and NHS employer organisations are included in the revived discussions, “no attempt has yet been made to include the independent voice of pharmacists”.

They called for the employer group to “listen to the voices of individual working pharmacists and engage with the profession via our two organisations”, as the lack of engagement with pharmacists “caused the significant negative response to the first proposal”.

Concerns and contributions

“Many pharmacists have concerns about the underlying motivations for this proposal” and fear that a “poorly devised and delivered apprenticeship” could have negative consequences on the profession, the unions said.

It is “imperative” their concerns are taken into consideration at an early stage, before any decision to proceed is finalised, they stressed.

Assurances needed

The PDA and GHP said they will not support the proposals unless:

  • “There are realistic assurances that apprentices will enjoy robust, well-rounded and effective education and study, which meets General Pharmaceutical Council requirements for an MPharm course"
  • “The training will allow apprentices adequate time for revision, self-directed learning and rest"
  • “[The training] will produce registrants who, while being at no material disadvantage compared to registrants educated via the traditional route, will not threaten the status, resilience and viability of the profession as a whole”.

The consultation on the first proposals attracted more than 6,000 responses, while a C+D poll showed that four fifths of pharmacists did not support the proposals “under any circumstances”.

Do you support the unions' call for greater participation?

Ex Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

It's very simple

If Doctors are questioned about the validity of pharmacists becoming prescribers

Then why aren't we questioned about the future of our own profession.

Multiples are not pharmacists. They're profit margin soldiers who are trying to bring in staff and low financial rates to ensure their pockets are lined well enough to absorb the impact of the millions being cut from our budget.

Every action has a reaction. This is their reaction to reduce their costs to ensure their profits are intact.

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