Update on the Initial Education and Training Reforms

Last month, the GPhC Council agreed on the overall direction of the review of standards for the initial education and training (IET) of pharmacists and the steps to be taken to finalise and implement the standards. The PDA welcomes the radical overhaul of IET to make it fit for purpose and to a foundation period which helps to develop the clinical skills that pharmacists will need in the future.

Wed 2nd December 2020 The PDA

The current draft standards can be found here. 

Along with other key stakeholders, the PDA has contributed to a series of consultation meetings held by the regulator. As the initial meetings drew to a close, the PDA submitted a paper to the GPhC setting out some points and key questions for consideration as the review moves forward.

Rose Marie Parr and Arun Midha have been appointed joint Chairs of the Advisory Group on Standards, which includes representatives from a wide range of stakeholders. In response to the Advisory Group’s feedback further work is underway including:

  • reviewing some of the levels and headings in the learning outcomes to ensure these are right, with a particular focus on the progression from year four to five and then to post-registration
  • making sure the elements of the standards relating to independent prescribing are appropriately woven through the five years of education and training
  • setting out the respective roles and accountabilities of the different organisations in relation to the Foundation training year more clearly within the standards.

The aim is to transform the education and training of pharmacists so that they can provide a greater role in clinical care to patients from their date of registration. The GPhC Council will consider a final draft of the standards later this month. The regulator has also agreed to work with the Advisory Group to develop a transition plan for how and when the new standards will be implemented.

Whilst the PDA recognises that the reform is an exciting opportunity to ensure that the initial education and training of pharmacists provides them will the skills and expertise to take their rightful place in healthcare multi-disciplinary teams across all sectors, this undertaking is not without significant risks. The PDA would like to see the changes developed and implemented in a measured way which identifies the elements that need changing and does not bend to external pressures for the provision of pharmacist IPs in the shortest time possible.

An integral part of the reforms must be the embedding of equality issues within the whole process that the GPhC oversees and removing the current attainment gap present at institutions that provide the MPharm. This will become the bedrock of how students, irrespective of their background, can become pharmacists that can contribute fully to the profession as patient-facing practitioners and as academics who teach future generations of pharmacists.

We all want the outcome of the changes to support the development and careers of new pharmacists, to protect the safety of patients and to enhance the reputation of the profession within healthcare.

Get involved

The PDA will continue to listen to the views of members on the IET reforms, your feedback will be reviewed by a member of our Senior Team. Please note individual responses will not be provided.


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