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Education and training

Scottish schools of pharmacy call for clarity over five-year integrated degree

Robert Gordon University and the University of Strathclyde said issues such as funding arrangements and the timing of clinical placements still need to be discussed.

Scotland’s two schools of pharmacy have issued a joint statement saying that “a number of substantive issues” need to be resolved before they can fully commit to offering five-year, integrated pharmacy degrees.

In the statement, issued this July, Robert Gordon University and the University of Strathclyde said that they “support the ambition to enhance the education of our undergraduates”, but hope for further dialogue with Rose Marie Parr, chief pharmaceutical officer at the Scottish government, to address exactly how these issues will be resolved.

Donald Cairns, the head of Robert Gordon University’s School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, will be meeting with Parr next week to discuss matters of concern including funding, support for international students and governance. The University of Strathclyde has said that it is ”continuing to engage with the chief pharmacist and her team”.

A proposal for a five-year integrated degree, in which a pre-registration year would be incorporated into the degree programme, was announced on 5 May 2017 by a special advisory group set up by Shona Robison, the Scottish cabinet secretary for health and sport. Under the proposal, the new five-year degree would be introduced in 2020.

Speaking to The Pharmaceutical Journal following the announcement in May, John McAnaw, chair of the RPS Scottish Pharmacy Board, said that the board “welcomes the Scottish government’s support for a move towards a five-year integrated degree”, adding that “it will help build the capacity and capability we need for a more clinically focused pharmacy service”.

However, McAnaw said that “important issues”, including funding arrangements and timing of clinical placements, still need to be worked through, and that there was “a long way to go before this concept becomes a reality for all pharmacy students”.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203290

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