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Education and training

Patient services must not be hit by standardised pharmacist foundation training, hospital trusts say

A report has found that although a standardised pharmacy foundation programme would be welcomed, NHS trusts have concerns over the impact that training for the programme could have on patient services.

Hospital patient laying in bed

Hospital trusts are concerned that the resources needed to provide a standardised pharmacy programme could impact on patient services

Training needed to introduce a standard foundation programme for newly qualified pharmacists must not affect patient services, hospital trusts have told Health Education England (HEE).

The report, produced by The North School of Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation (SoPMO), gathered views from 65 hospital trusts in the north of England on current and future foundation pharmacist training.

The SoPMO team found that efforts to develop a nationwide, standardised pharmacy foundation programme would be welcomed, but concerns were raised by trusts about whether the resources needed to provide a standardised programme would impact on the delivery of patient services.

In the report, ‘Visit Report: Foundation Pharmacist Training (North of England NHS Trusts), HEE said: “We recognise the need for high quality supervision training that is deliverable without impacting on service delivery.”

Foundation pharmacists play an “essential role … in delivering direct patient care”, the report said, adding that during the team’s visits to NHS trusts they had been told of the importance of “balancing the educational needs” of foundation pharmacists “with the requirement of employers to continue to deliver patient care”.

HEE also said it has “begun work looking at various models of training”, noting that any effective standardised programme would “need to be delivered nationally and with sufficient resource not to jeopardise the delivery of services”, and that it was “starting to scope and define the key elements” of a foundation pharmacist training programme, including an exploration of “how and when prescribing qualifications should be embedded in to training programmes”.

It adds that the programme will also “include a standardised syllabus and assessment approach that enables quality assurance of [foundation pharmacist] training with an appropriate credentialing process”.

Under plans for a national pharmacy foundation training programme, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is leading on developing the curriculum and assessment processes

Gail Fleming, director for education and professional development at the RPS, said the report showed that “views are very much aligned with our position in the RPS that there should be clear standards with a common curriculum and national assessment”.

She added that there was “always a challenge in balancing service provision with time to train, and it is important to recognise that learning happens whilst working as well as during protected learning time”.

Jane Brown, pharmacy dean at SoPMO, said: “The report highlights examples of innovative practice and describes the challenges of delivering high-quality foundation pharmacist training.” 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2020.20207636

Readers' comments (1)

  • Throughout anyone's career there will always be a series of education / training / career development / professional development needs - many of which will need to be met within one's own time. While I fully support the development of a foundation programme it is surely unrealistic to expect 'protected learning time' to meet all of the learning demands of that programme.

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