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Home  »   Latest News   »   GPhC joins PDA members to discuss the changes to Initial Education and Training

GPhC joins PDA members to discuss the changes to Initial Education and Training

The PDA recently hosted an informative session that enabled members and GPhC colleagues from all sectors to hear directly about the changes to Initial Education and Training (IET), Designated Prescribing Practitioners (DPPs), and the implications for pharmacists, students, and trainees.

Wed 16th February 2022 The PDA

During the session, GPhC Director for Scotland Laura Fraser and GPhC Training Manager, Sarah Purdy led attendees through an overview of the new standards for the IET of pharmacists, sharing key changes and the anticipated next steps. The event also included a plenary session which provided an opportunity for PDA members to ask about the finer details of the reforms and for the GPhC to hear from working pharmacists about what matters to them in relation to the new standards.

Laura Fraser said, “The GPhC valued the opportunity to share with PDA members the reforms to initial education and training for pharmacists and to answer some of the more practical yet important questions. We are working closely with all the key stakeholders, now we have defined what has to be done and why in the standards, to implement them fully so that student/trainee pharmacists are confident and capable to deliver person-centred care and support the health service moving forward.

We will continue to accredit higher education institutions and will undertake this role, for the foundation training year, delivered by statutory education bodies also. This level of quality assurance will be done in collaboration with the providers and their partners, and we look forward to seeing these relationships develop as we transition towards 2026 when our first cohort of registered pharmacists will also be annotated on the register as independent prescribers.”

PDA members and reps asked a variety of questions about funding, capacity, DPPs, a second foundation year (FY2), and support for existing pharmacists to become Independent Prescribers (IPs). PDA members also asked about how trainees will be developed safely to become confident and capable pharmacists whilst delivering the highest standards of patient safety. GPhC colleagues answered as many questions as possible and confirmed that their intention is to consider all points raised as they continue to shape and implement the new standards.

The new standards present an opportunity for the sector to develop the pharmaceutical care approach outlined in the PDA’s Wider Than Medicines strategy but will need to be carefully considered and developed through a robust support framework. Unlike other healthcare professions, pharmacy will need the time and resources to develop a culture of mentoring and supervising beyond the training year.

PDA Director of Policy, Alison Jones said, “The reform of the education and training for pharmacists is a significant step to achieving the full potential of the profession, and therefore it must be introduced with full consideration of delivering what is best for patients, trainees, the profession, and the existing workforce, including locums.

Change of this magnitude requires many stakeholders to work in a co-ordinated and collaborative way, to make sure that there is sufficient funding and resources in the system to deliver the aspiration, not only for the success of the undergraduate programme, but the foundation stage and beyond.”

Alison continued, “The PDA advocates for a two-year foundation period post-qualification for new pharmacists entering the register after studying the new IET programme. This would provide a greater opportunity for supervised practice and allow the newly qualified pharmacist to gain a level of competency to establish safe and effective independent prescribing. The medical foundation training model provides an excellent example of how to develop newly qualified clinicians and build expertise as they move towards autonomous prescribing.”

The PDA participate in the GPhC stakeholder group, but this webinar allowed members to have their voices and concerns heard directly. The PDA will continue to participate constructively in the GPhC’s consultation work and appreciate the willingness of the GPhC to engage and listen to PDA members.

PDA Regional Committee Member, Siddique Rahman said, ”Being part of the discussions to converse about the changes to IET and prescribing for future pharmacists with members of the GPhC was really helpful. All viewpoints were considered and being able to ask questions openly to address any concerns with patient safety and risk management in mind was extremely useful. As a pharmacist independent prescriber myself, I would like to continue engaging with the GPhC stakeholder group as the reforms to IET are being implemented in pharmacy.”

The PDA and GPhC recognise the value of collaboration and intend to hold further information sessions as the reforms to IET are developed and implemented.

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