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The General Pharmaceutical Council has launched a consultation proposing significant changes to the initial education and training of pharmacists.

The consultation suggests instituting one set of standards and learning outcomes that cover the full period of education and training before initial registration as a pharmacist, with closer integration between academic study and practical experience.

The proposals also call for revising the learning outcomes, with more focus on developing clinical skills and communication skills and seek to strengthen experiential learning and inter-professional learning.

The consultation asks schools of pharmacy, employers and commissioners to work together for integrating the 52 weeks of learning in practice, or pre-registration training, within accredited programmes, with a more rigorous and structured approach.

It also calls for an overhaul of the admission requirements, suggesting course providers to assess the prospective students through interactive activities such as multiple mini interviews or group work,  in addition to their academic qualifications.    

GPhC also asks course providers to conduct an annual review of student performance and admissions to strengthen equality, diversity and inclusion.

Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, said: “We know that pharmacists’ roles are evolving at pace in response to the current health and social care landscape. Now is the time to discuss how education and training should change so that the pharmacists of the future are fully equipped for the roles they will need to take on to deliver safe, high quality service to patients and the public.

“We recognise that our changes may present a number of challenges for course providers, employers, commissioners and students, and may involve some difficult decisions. But we also believe it is the right time for us all to think innovatively about how education and training needs to change so that the pharmacists of the future are fully equipped for the roles they will need to play.”

The consultation will be open until 3 April 2019.

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