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University of Leicester launches MPharm course to ‘plug nation’s skill gap’

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University of Leicester launches MPharm course to ‘plug nation’s skill gap’

University of Leicester campus (iStock)

The University of Leicester is launching a new MPharm course in what it described as a bid to help “plug the nation’s skill gap” and meet growing public demand for pharmaceutical care.

The course, which is currently ‘subject to approval’ with the expectation that it will launch in September, bills itself as being “led by pharmacists”. Offering places to between 30 and 40 undergraduates in the first instance, it will be taught through the university’s school of healthcare, which is headed up by professor David Wright – the academic who spearheaded the community pharmacy representation exercise that resulted in the PSNC rebranding as Community Pharmacy England.

A statement from the university said students on the course will be offered training placement “across a range of settings with pharmacy teams across the Midlands, including in community pharmacies, hospitals and GP surgeries… they will also have the chance to complete a research project or overseas internship”.

Professor Wright said students will have opportunities to collaborate with students in other healthcare disciplines across their four-year course, adding: “The focus of our curriculum from day one is on developing the skills and professionalism needed to care for patients and take responsibility for the medicines that they take, as well as developing the clinical and scientific knowledge required for practice.

“Our teaching will be delivered in small groups supporting our students to develop and enhance the teamworking skills they will need to thrive for a career in a caring profession in the 21st century.”

The launch follows the recent news that from September this year the University of Bath’s MPharm course will be offered through the University of Plymouth in order to boost access to training in the region.

Outlining the perceived need for an expansion in pharmacist training places, the University of Leicester noted Government projections indicating that “jobs in pharmacy are set to grow by 6.9 per cent by 2027, creating 4,700 jobs”.

“In the same period, 52.8 per cent of the workforce is projected to retire, creating 35,600 job openings,” its statement continued.

Professor Wright said: “With a rise in people accessing the ever-growing range of pharmacy services and the projected number of new job openings in the profession, it’s clear to see the UK is in dire need of newly qualified pharmacists.

“Given the need for more pharmacists who can take responsibility for aspects of patient care, including the prescribing of medicines, we have worked quickly and closely with patients, carers and employers to design a new and innovative MPharm programme at Leicester.

“It will be led by pharmacists, delivered by pharmacists for pharmacists – and therefore students will be surrounded by professional role models who will not only deliver knowledge and know-how but also guide them through to becoming safe and caring healthcare professionals.”

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