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Student numbers consultation 'not a vote on government policy', says government

Greg Clark MP considered the results of the consultation analysis which found the majority of respondents were in favour of a cap "alongside other sources of information", says BIS


A consultation that uncovered widespread support for capping pharmacy student numbers was "not a vote on government policy", the government has said following its shock decision to leave degree courses unrestricted.

The decision was based on "sources of evidence" other than the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) and Health Education England (HEE) consultation that ran last year, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills told C+D last week (October 21).

But the department refused to reveal any details of this other evidence which prompted universities, science and cities minister Greg Clark to announce that the government's objectives for pharmacy were "best achieved outside a number control system" on October 15.


The government did not have any plans to remove the cap on medicine or dentistry students because they received additional grant funding from HEFCE and therefore carried "significant additional costs to the taxpayer", the department added.

Ninety-six per cent of 76 C+D readers disagreed with the decision to leave student numbers uncapped in a web poll that ran from October 27 to October 29. Last week, C+D readers labelled the decision "a joke".

What do you think of the government's explanation for its decision?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information

Francis Jones, Community pharmacist

I sense the lobbying of Boots,LLoyds etc,who want a ready stream of graduates who will be grateful to get a job at the princely rate of £12.50 per hour-if they are lucky!My advice to any young person contemplating pharmacy as a career is to study engineering instead!

I wonder how much the consultation cost, given that it was then not used in the decision making process...

Rather than capping pharmacy student numbers then, would it be possible to reduce the number of university places to study law and PPE? That way we might get fewer chinless wonders becoming government ministers

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Why did they go for a consultation, if they did not mean to use it in their decision making?? Stupidest thing ever heard !!

Bushra Taslim Hussain, Locum pharmacist

So the reason for this is because pharmacy students are not funded. They are more than welcome to spend their OWN money to go to university, get a degree and then fight to get a poorly paid job, if any. Someone tell me why you would want to be a pharmacist?!

Perhaps the Government can enlighten us on these other "sources of evidence" that they used to come to their decision? I won't be holding my breath though....

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