Next year, there will be an introduction of the common registration assessment throughout the UK which allows the registration assessment to include a common registration examination for pharmacists in Britain and Northern Ireland.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) have released an update on the planned reforms to the initial education and training of pharmacists.

From 2021, a common registration assessment will be introduced throughout the UK with plans to deliver an online assessment. The pre-registration training year will be known as a ‘foundation training’ year across all UK countries from next summer.

“MPharm students entering their fourth year of study and applying for training posts to begin in Summer 2021 must continue to apply through the current systems being used within the different UK countries or employers. Trainees will receive enhanced support during the year,” the latest update has said.

Current MPharm students will not have to pay additional fees for their foundation training year which means the cost of studying to be a pharmacist will not change as a result of the reforms.

MPharm degrees will continue to be awarded after four years and foundation trainees will continue to be employed in their fifth (foundation training) year.

However, the foundation training year is not the same as post-registration foundation programmes which may be offered to recently-registered pharmacists.

“Each country is currently considering options for how it may develop the support available for recently-registered pharmacists, for example through further development of post-registration training programmes for the first year of practice as a pharmacist,” the update added.

Once the standards are finalised, universities will begin work to gradually implement these new standards in their courses.

RPS welcomes GPhC update on education and training reforms

Responding to the GPhC’s update to MPharm students, Gail Fleming, RPS director of education, said: “RPS is ready to support the GPhC with this in any way we can.

“Whilst we welcome the announcement that current MPharm students will not have to pay additional fees for their Foundation training year, we need clarification on what the financial impact will be on future MPharm students as well as confirmation that funding for additional clinical placements in years 1-4 will be available if we are to upskill future graduates to become independent prescribers.

“The RPS wants to see a more integrated, seamless transition from initial education and training through to Foundation, Advanced and ultimately Consultant level. It is essential that there is a strong training and support structure for newly registered pharmacists bridging and building towards advanced-level practice. The RPS has been leading work on Foundation curriculum development and assessment which will be key to the development of the new programme.”

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