Pharmacist organisations have condemned the reported decision of Health Education England (HEE) to cut the salary support for pre-registration pharmacists provided to the majority of NHS employers from 100 to 75 percent from 2020 onward.

“Reducing funding for training pharmacists at a time the new NHS 10 year plan calls for pharmacists to play a greater role in healthcare is incoherent,” said RPS Gail Fleming, director for education at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

“Less money for pre-registration training in the NHS will directly impact on the number of pharmacists the NHS can train. This will reduce the capacity pharmacy has to help the NHS with huge workforce challenges now and in the future,” Fleming added.

Pharmacists union PDA said it is “extremely disappointed” at the decision, while pointing out that there was no such suggestion in the HEE workforce consultation from 2018.   

“This decision will have a direct impact on both the Schools of Pharmacy and on third and fourth-year students since they are part of an intake based upon current pre-reg placement figures and overnight there may be 25% fewer pre-registration placements in English hospitals,” said the PDA in a statement.

The union also said that the decision runs contrary to the NHS 10-year plan and GPhC consultation on Initial education and training standards for pharmacists.