New standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists introduced

New standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists introduced

January 21, 2021

The General Pharmaceutical Council have published new standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists. The implementation of these standards will transform the education and training of pharmacists, so they are able to play a much greater role in providing clinical care to patients and the public from their first day on the register, including by prescribing medicines.

The standards set out the knowledge, skills, understanding and professional behaviours a student/trainee pharmacist will have to demonstrate to pass their initial education and training and to join the professional register. The standards also set out the requirements for organisations providing initial education and training.

The new standards have been welcomed by the Chief Pharmaceutical Officers for Great Britain in a joint letter.

Key changes

The new standards will introduce a number of important changes to make sure pharmacists are equipped for their future roles, including:

  • introducing a new set of learning outcomes that cover the full five years of education and training, and which can link to their continued development after registration;
  • incorporating the skills, knowledge and attributes for prescribing, to enable pharmacists to independently prescribe from the point of registration;
  • emphasising the application of science in clinical practice and including a greater focus on the key skills needed for current and future roles – including professional judgement, management of risk, and diagnostic and consultation skills;
  • making the fifth year of initial education and training a foundation training year with strengthened supervision support, and collaborative working between higher education institutions, statutory education bodies and employers; and
  • having a greater emphasis on equality, diversity and inclusion to combat discrimination and deal with health inequalities.

The General Pharmaceutical Council has worked closely with key stakeholders, including employers, statutory education bodies, higher education institutions and professional bodies, as well as Governments, and the wider public, to develop these standards.

Implementing the new standards

Work is underway to develop an implementation plan setting out how and when each of the changes will be introduced. The Advisory Group of stakeholders which advised the GPhC Council on the final standards will continue to work with us to facilitate and oversee the implementation of the standards.

The General Pharmaceutical Council will issue updates as the implementation plan develops, including what the changes mean for everyone.


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