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Xrayser: Why some fear the dark side of pharmacy apprenticeships

"The NHS Empire destroyed Alderaan University because it was cheaper to have apprentices like me"

Xrayser ponders how the five-year pharmacist apprenticeship proposals would be interpreted in a galaxy far, far away…

Luke was running. That was because he was late, and being late was a bad thing, because his tutor would be disappointed. It was just past daybreak, and yet when he arrived the pharmacy was already busy.

As he entered the dispensary, his tutor raised a quizzical eye and twitched his ear. “Hmm – late you are young Skywalker. Took you on as a pharmacy apprentice I did, but full-time not just appearing when you want.”

“I’m sorry Mr Yoda,” muttered Luke. “I was studying Medicines, Ethics and Practice at the Cantina and lost track of the time.”

“Time? Not time for ethics, but time for practice it is!” replied his tutor. “We are due inspection by NHS Empire soon, and they will want to see the log of your studies. Remember – convince them we must of the value of your apprenticeship. They would rather spend the money increasing clinical pharmacists working at Death Star Health Centre.”

“Do we show them all my studies, Mr Yoda? Including the old practices?”

His tutor smiled and looked around before quietly replying: “Much to teach you there is, but you learn fast. Have you found a source of metoprolol?”

Luke smiled. “I’ve spoken to a trader called Han from Solo Pharmaceuticals. He reckons he and his partner can get a whole range of generics below concession price.”

“And Pfizer products?” asked the tutor. “No,” replied Luke. “They only come from Rebel Alliance Healthcare. But Mr Yoda, what did you mean when you told me the old ways were passing?”

His tutor sat on the floor and crossed his legs. “A change in the force, there is. Darth Ridge wishes to force us away from trade and into service, and I sense the force is strong in this one. Teach you I must to survive in this new world, so good it is that you are not a student at Alderaan University.”

“Yes,” said Luke, “I heard that Alderaan is no more, that NHS Empire destroyed it because it was cheaper to have apprentices like me. But why is there so much opposition from the other pharmacists? Do they fear that I may go over to the dark side, like the NHS Empire clinical pharmacists?”

“Ah, young Skywalker, understand you must that you are apprenticed into an ancient order, but many consider it a dying calling. As an apprentice you are a pharmacist initiate and in five years will be a pharmacist padawan. But it takes many years of experience and responsibility to become a pharmacist master, and many fear what your apprenticeship brings.”

“A message from C+D,” continued Luke, “said ‘Apprenticeship schemes have been driven by companies looking for solutions to workforce issues in the sector’. Is that the Outer Rim sector?”

“No, the corporate sector,” replied his tutor. “Many fear the hostile conditions there. But one thing know I, that if pharmacist knights fight amongst themselves, we will not survive the battle for service, apprentices or not.”

A long-running C+D contributor, the identity of Xrayser remains a mystery, but his irreverent views are known by all. Tweet him @Xrayser


Do you support the introduction of a 5-year pharmacist apprenticeship?
No, not under any circumstances
Not sure. It would depend on the specific proposals and training provided
Yes, I would be confident in the pharmacists produced from such a scheme
Total votes: 202

David Reissner, Senior Management

Making serious points in an entertaining way is an art. No one was being made fun of (except, perhaps NHS Empire, who should be open to challenge and criticism). I'm disappointed I should even find it necessary to say this.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Where is Wishing Rudkin ??? :-))

Female Tech, Pharmacy technician

Are you a child? What a pathetic way to write an article about a serious subject.

Interleukin -2, Community pharmacist

......this is exactly the difference going to uni makes . Enough said

Zegai Ermias, Community pharmacist

I bet you want to be a pharmacist without all the hard work a normal pharmacist do at uni and become a slave to the merrons who are propossing it

Dave Ashton, Community pharmacist

I guess you've never heard of satire???

C+D Xrayser, Community pharmacist

Many people have expressed a feeling of vulnerability or sadness following the serious blogs discussing Pharmacy apprenticeships, so a satirical pathos was indeed the tone I was aiming for!

Female Tech, Pharmacy technician

People are feeling vulnerable, so the best you can do is make fun of them. Well done.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Great article, ignore the moaners, that too a tech !!! May be she (the name says so) has been already dreeming of becoming a Pharmacist without attending the Uni !!!!

Female Tech, Pharmacy technician

I have never dreamt of being a pharmacist, via uni or otherwise. I just believe if you are going to debate something, do it in an adult fashion, not with such nonsense as this.

BTW what is "that too a tech" supposed to mean.

Interleukin -2, Community pharmacist

Ironically i find your reaction quite childish. The article on the other hand quite sombre. I mean, who has ever heard master Yoda laugh?

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

You still need to attend Uni while an apprentice I think. Just not all the time like the rest of us did! 




Zegai Ermias, Community pharmacist

Probably one day a week if any

Keith Howell, Primary care pharmacist

All in jest for sure but what is the basis for this:

"...they would rather spend the money increasing clinical pharmacists working at Death Star Health Centre"

The GPPTP is now being ramped down and replaced by a DES for GP surgeries. The apprenticeship proposals bear no link to clinical pharmacists working in GP surgeries. Why try to needlessly create a rift between pharmacists working in different sectors when we need to stand together on this issue?

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