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Bath and Plymouth join forces in bid to increase pharmacist numbers in South West

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Bath and Plymouth join forces in bid to increase pharmacist numbers in South West


Two leading universities are joining forces to address the need for more pharmacists, both nationally and in South West England.

From September 2024, the University of Bath MPharm course will also be delivered at the University of Plymouth, increasing the opportunities for students to study the subject in the region.

Pharmacists are listed on the national shortage occupations list, say the universities, and there is a particular shortage in the South West, which has the highest community pharmacy vacancy rate in England at 14 per cent, compared to 8 per cent nationally.

Professor Julian Chaudhuri, pro-vice-chancellor (education) at the University of Bath, said: "The University of Bath MPharm is one of the most highly regarded in the UK. We are delighted to work with the University of Plymouth to offer this course to students at an additional location.

“This collaboration will give students more opportunities to study a top-quality pharmacy course and increase the numbers of pharmacy graduates in the South West, significantly contributing to healthcare within the region."

The course will be delivered in close collaboration with NHS England and many local stakeholders, the universities say.

Professor John Curnow, the University of Plymouth’s deputy vice chancellor, education and student experience, said: “We’re excited to be part of this partnership between Plymouth, Bath and NHS England. Our pharmacy students will learn in new practice-based and clinical teaching spaces.

“Plymouth is already home to more than 4,500 health and social care students, studying everything from medicine and dentistry, to nursing and physiotherapy, and working closely with the largest teaching hospital in Devon and Cornwall.”

The Bath pharmacy degree course has a high ranking in university league tables. It is ranked in the top five nationally for pharmacy and pharmacology in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024, and in the top 10 in The Complete University Guide 2024.

Students perform well in the NHS Oriel recruitment process for their Foundation Year place, says the University, and graduates do well in the General Pharmaceutical Council’s registration assessment: in 2023 the pass rate was 96.46 per cent, the highest in the UK.

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