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GPhC: Separate IP qualification to remain for now

Plans to incorporate an independent prescribing qualification into pharmacists’ initial education and training (IET) are still being worked through, with separate post-registration IP courses to remain in place for the time being.  

The General Pharmaceutical Council and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland issued a statement yesterday on the IET reforms currently being developed by the regulators along with education and training bodies, employers and other organisations.

The statement confirms that from summer 2021 the pre-registration training year will be known as the Foundation training year. This forms part of the regulators' plans to ensure trainee pharmacists have more exposure to workplace-based clinical training.

The regulators explain that while they are working towards reforming the MPharm degree and Foundation year so that all students "who begin their MPharm degree in the future" will be independent prescribers upon registration, the practical details are “to be decided and will be subject to consultation”.

“Separate independent prescribing courses for registered pharmacists will remain in place for the foreseeable future.”

Pharmacy Network News has approached the GPhC for greater clarity on when it anticipates the changes concerning independent prescribing qualifications will take effect. 

Common registration assessment for GB and NI 

The statement also confirms that from 2021 a common registration assessment will be introduced across Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with plans underway to deliver an online assessment.

On the new Foundation year, the GPhC and PSNI say that MPharm students applying for training posts to begin in summer 2021 must apply through the systems currently being used in their country.

“They will receive enhanced support throughout the year,” the regulators say.

Current MPharm students will not have to pay any additional fees for their Foundation training year, meaning the cost of studying to be a pharmacist will not change at present.

MPharm degrees will continue to be awarded after four years and Foundation trainees will continue to be employed in their fifth year.

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