Education and training

Education and training

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Healthcare and pharmacy training providers are working to provide as much guidance on the COVID-19 pandemic as possible for healthcare workers.

This page contains details of the resources we are aware of which pharmacy teams may find of use.

Educational tools

Some education and training providers are offering free courses that community pharmacy teams may wish to take advantage of. Note, listing on this webpage does not constitute endorsement of the course or provider by PSNC.

Health Education England (HEE)

e-Learning for Healthcare (e-LfH)
A free to access e-learning programme on the COVID-19 pandemic is now available for the UK health and care workforce. The programme includes key materials to help the healthcare professionals respond to Coronavirus, and more content will be added in the coming days and weeks. For more information about the programme, visit

COVID-19 pharmacy learning and development guide
HEE has developed a signposting guide for pharmacy students, pre-registration trainees, tutors and employers to refer to during the pandemic. The guide to pharmacy learning and professional development during COVID-19, which will be updated regularly, brings together useful information about the status, next steps and online resources available for various pharmacy-related training courses.

Training for NHS 111 ‘PharmCAS’ Service
The NHS is redeploying pharmacists from other settings, including community pharmacy and CCGs, into a new NHS 111 COVID-19 Clinical Assessment Service (CAS) to help with the additional demand due to the pandemic. The service will be used for patients who require a discussion with a clinician following their use of NHS 111.

HEE have been working to ensure that pharmacists entering the NHS 111 ‘PharmCAS’ have access to appropriate training materials. The HEE Integrated Urgent Care (IUC) Workforce Development Programme, delivered by the University of Derby, is now available as an introductory course, with selected modules and materials made available as a free online educational and information resource. This short course aims to introduce pharmacists to the IUC setting.

Pharmacists wishing to further develop their knowledge and skills in this area can also apply for the full training course at the University of Derby.

Learning Hub
HEE has launched a new digital platform that enables the health and care workforce to share and access resources more easily during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently in its Beta phase, the Learning Hub has been designed based on users’ needs with new features being released frequently. Users will also be able to contribute digital resources including e-learning, video, audio, images, web links and articles. This agile approach will help provide a comprehensive learning experience for all.

Many stakeholders from across the health and care workforce, including clinical commissioning groups, social care, professional bodies, charities and the simulation community, have already contributed a range of quality learning resources.

Find out more
Further information on all of the work undertaken by HEE in recent weeks can be accessed via its new Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians webpage:

Health Education England COVID-19 guidance for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and the wider student, trainee and apprenticeship community

Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE)

Return to practice course
CPPE has a Return to practice course which supports pharmacy professionals (pharmacists and pharmacy technicians):

  • returning to community pharmacy practice following a career break;
  • wanting to change sector to community pharmacy; or
  • returning to practice in England after work elsewhere in the UK or in other countries worldwide.

Preparing for community pharmacy practice course

The aim of this e-course is to build the confidence and competence of newly qualified community pharmacists who have had a significant break in their training due to the pandemic. This includes those that completed their pre-registration training but were unable to find employment as a provisionally registered pharmacist, and those who were unsuccessful in the pre-registration assessment and were removed from the provisional register.

COVID-19 gateway page
The new COVID-19 gateway page from CPPE contains the latest COVID-19 resources, including links to the key NHS and Public Health England web pages that will help pharmacy professionals keep up to date with the current situation. These are in the Core and foundation learning section along with links to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) hub and Health Education England’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) e-learning programme which includes resources for pharmacy staff. The Advanced learning section contains more specific clinical guidance and information on medicines.

Resilience webpage
CPPE has collated lots of information about how to build resilience and deal with stressful situations on its new Resilience page.

Inhaler technique for health professionals e-learning
The Inhaler technique for health professionals e-learning and assessment from CPPE has been updated in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This learning may be useful for better supporting people with respiratory problems during this difficult time.

Other training

Buttercups Training Courses
A free short training course has been developed for all pharmacies who may need to temporarily use additional staff to support pharmacy services. Pandemic Training for Additional Staff to Support Pharmacy Services is now available to download from the Buttercups website.

Another course has been designed for those who may be required to help with the delivery of medicines to patients. Content includes an overview of COVID-19 with its symptoms, storage of medicines in transit, vehicle security, safe delivery and dealing with undelivered medicines. The short course is available from the Buttercups website.

Mediapharm training for Pharmacy Volunteers
Pharmacy training provider Mediapharm has produced free ‘COVID-19 Quick Start Training for Volunteers’. This certificated course is for pharmacy contractors who are taking on volunteers during the COVID-19 emergency and who need to be trained and ready to work from day one. The course is accessible from the Mediapharm website.

National Pharmacy Association pandemic training
The NPA has developed a concise training guide designed to enable volunteers to support the pharmacy workforce and services in this challenging situation.

ProPharmace training for Pharmacy Student Volunteers and Returning to Practice
ProPharmace have launched two free short training programmes to support the COVID-19 response.  The first is aimed at supporting the safe and effective deployment of pharmacy students who have expressed interest in volunteering within community pharmacies. The second course is an overall refresher for those returning to practice. The mode of delivery for the above courses is through webinars.

ProPharmace training for Educational Supervisors and Practice Supervisors
ProPharmace have launched two new training programmes commissioned by Health Education England to ensure that Educational Supervisors and Practice Supervisors are trained, competent and confident to provide support and developmental aid to pharmacy trainees. This training programme is FREE for educational and practice supervisors in the London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex regions.

Pharmacy students

Note, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has commissioned Keele University to research the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on provisionally-registered pharmacists and pre-registration trainees. Target participation groups will be emailed about how to get involved. Through the study, the GPhC aims to understand the experiences of clinical training over the last 12 months and preparations around sitting the registration assessment. The findings will feed into the GPhC’s work on educational reform to the initial education and training of pharmacists.

Guidance for pre-reg trainees and provisionally-registered pharmacists

HEE, along with the Statutory Education Bodies Scotland and Wales, is aware of the concerns over the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pharmacy education and training, alongside the broader impact on clinical care. The bodies have therefore issued national guidance for Pre-registration Trainee Pharmacy Technicians and Pre-Registration Pharmacist Trainees.

The GPhC postponed both the June and September 2020 pre-registration pharmacist examinations. Meanwhile, HEE, along with the Statutory Education Bodies Scotland and Wales, published a joint statement outlining its support for the proposed approach.

Provisional registration policy

The GPhC has announced its intention to add current pre-registration trainees to the pharmacist register on a provisional basis.

The Council has published a policy setting out the criteria that this year’s pre-registration pharmacist trainees will need to meet to be eligible to join the register. The document also outlines the requirements that employers must put in place to support provisionally-registered pharmacists.

Those trainees who are provisionally registered will be able to work as a Responsible Pharmacist; but they will have various restrictions on their practice, for example, they will not be able to be locums or superintendent pharmacists. Employers must fulfil various requirements, for example, completing a risk assessment before a provisionally registered pharmacist starts work and ensuring those provisionally registered practise under the guidance and direction of a senior pharmacist, and have appropriate support as they prepare for the pre-registration examination. The GPhC will issue standards for employers which will set out the framework in which pharmacists who are registered provisionally must operate.

This policy has been informed by a wide range of representatives from professional and educational bodies, including PSNC.

In light of this news, Professor Wendy Reid, Acting Chief Executive for Health Education England, has sent a reassuring message to pre-registration trainees.

Guidance about employing provisionally-registered pharmacists

The GPhC has written to pharmacy owners and superintendents to share guidance about employing provisionally-registered pharmacists. This sets out what employers and superintendents must do, if they plan to employ a pharmacist who is provisionally registered.

2021 GPhC pre-registration assessment

The GPhC has announced that the provisional registration of pharmacists will be extended to January 2022, to enable trainees from the 2020/21 cohort to apply to join the provisional register once their training is satisfactorily completed. The announcement was made as part of an update confirming the remaining registration assessment dates for 2021.

PSNC published advice on the issues surrounding when provisionally registered pharmacists/pre-registration candidates may be ready to site the GPhC assessment last month.

Read PSNC’s advice here

Registration opens for Interim Foundation Pharmacist Programme

HEE has announced that it is now accepting applications to join the Interim Foundation Pharmacist Programme (IFPP).

This new education programme is part of a planned reform of pharmacist education, which has been accelerated to help mitigate the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the 2019/20 cohort of pre-registration pharmacists.

Starting in September 2020, the IFPP is a fully funded 12-month programme that aims to give provisionally registered pharmacists the foundation training support they need. It will help to develop pharmacists’ ability to achieve high quality outcomes for patients, improve patient safety and reduce medication errors.

Check your eligibility for the programme and register here

Facilitating the deployment of MPharm students

New Joint Guidance: Facilitating deployment of pharmacy undergraduate students to support the pharmacy workforce has been issued that defines guiding principles for how employers might support safe and effective deployment of pharmacy students within pharmacy settings, during the emergency period. Current advice is that students only deploy in a way/at a time that will not interrupt their amended schedule of assessment.

This guidance can be accessed via Health Education England’s (HEE) new Coronavirus (COVID-19) information webpage.

Return to the main COVID-19 hub page.

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