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Education and training

Pharmacy apprenticeship plans revived by pharmacy employer group

Plans to create apprentice pharmacists have been revived, with promises that the process of developing any future scheme will be more transparent and include wider consultation than previous proposals.

A group of pharmacy employers, including Boots, LloydsPharmacy, Rowlands and Well have agreed to work on a second set of proposals for an integrated degree apprenticeship for pharmacists, which they said would “take into account the issues and concerns” that were raised when proposals were first suggested.

The plans were first proposed in April 2019, but the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IATE), the body that oversees UK apprenticeships, put the proposals on hold in May 2019 following criticism of how the apprenticeships would be funded.

The group will now reconsider the funding model by examining “other funding opportunities”, with the IATE also allocating a funding band to the scheme that could range from £1,500 to £27,000 for the duration of the degree.

The employer group — which also includes Superdrug, Asda, the Ministry of Defence, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Lincolnshire Co-operative and Blackwell Medical Services — also committed to reviewing its membership after recognising the need for more NHS involvement.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), Health Education England and the National Pharmacy Association are providing “input and advice” on the process.

Gail Fleming, director for education at the RPS, said: “Any proposal must have support from all sectors of practice and be aligned with parallel developments in pharmacy education — particularly the recent GPhC consultation on the initial education and training standards for pharmacists.”

A public consultation on firm proposals is expected to take place in 2020.


Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207249

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