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Council members seek greater veterinary pharmacy content in the education and training of pharmacists

Members of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's Council have emphasised the need for a greater focus on veterinary pharmacy in pharmacy education and training.

At the June Council meeting, during discussion on two proposals from the Education Committee (see here and here), Council members pointed out that there was nothing about veterinary pharmacy in the proposals, even though the Government wanted veterinary surgeons to write prescriptions that the public could take to pharmacies for dispensing.

Bob Michell said that it was a plank of Government policy that the public should be able to take veterinary prescriptions to a pharmacy for dispensing by the “scientist in the high street” with the benefit of the additional wisdom that that allowed. But he saw nothing in the proposals to reassure him that there would be any relevant specific training in veterinary pharmacy. He said that veterinary pharmacy needed to be a compulsory part of the indicative syllabus. Pharmacists could no longer say, “Oh, I don’t think I want to do that,” when a customer turns up at 6pm waving a veterinary prescription. Nor should one expect the customer to take it back to the veterinary surgeon and say, “Actually, my pharmacist can’t deal with that.” Veterinary pharmacy had to be in the indicative core syllabus for every pharmacist. It was not something that could be handled only at the preregistration training stage because there were not currently enough veterinary pharmacists from whom preregistration trainees could learn.

Stephen Denyer reassured the Council that the schools of pharmacy did cover areas such as veterinary pharmacy and they did so from a scientific perspective. The particular challenge was the preregistration challenge as much as it was an indicative syllabus challenge.

Gerald Alexander said that it was important for pharmacies to have appropriate veterinary pharmacy resources. As a practising community pharmacist with no formal education in veterinary pharmacy, he had on many occasions had to dispense veterinary prescriptions, and it was difficult to check the dose of a medicine without a reference source to hand.

Sue Kilby said that, through the Pharmaceutical Press, the Society already published two such books — ‘Veterinary pharmacy’ (by Steven Kayne and Michael Jepson) and ‘The veterinary formulary’ (edited by Yolande Bishop). Preregistration trainees should have access to those books so that they were aware of the problems and issues and the fact that they cannot dispense human medicines for veterinary use many instances. It was essential for pharmacists to have an understanding of veterinary pharmacy and the legislation that applied to it.

Mr Alexander said that he hoped the books would be well promoted.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10004210

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