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Extensive training would equip pharmacists with the right skills

Regarding pharmacist training for clinical roles, perhaps it would be a good idea to follow a similar approach to that of medical students and junior doctors. This would include multiple long practice placements during the university years, which now appears to have unanimous support. Then, once qualified, junior pharmacists would rotate through all the different specialist areas in hospital and community. This would allow them to gain an understanding of clinical approaches and specialist pharmaceutical care issues, with prescribing examinations or objective structured clinical examinations in each area, with the benefit of learning from different medical prescribers before becoming a generalist pharmacist.

This type of training would give pharmacists a broad range of experience, time to develop practical skills in complex environments and the opportunity to develop relationships with other members of the multidisciplinary team, as well as gaining trust from colleagues. It is necessary for patient safety that pharmacists should undergo as extensive a training programme as doctors if they expect to take on some of their responsibilities, including starting and stopping medicines in patients with comorbidities.

Richard O’Connell

Isle of Bute

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20069312

Readers' comments (1)

  • Indeed, this type of training could be the model . The challenge facing universities (and the proposed five year programme) is the fact that government has stated that it must be cost neutral. The cost of managing a 5 year programme is considerable and what (limited) placements are presently offered in schools of pharmacy are not funded (unlike medicine). We are at an impasse...
    What also seems missing from the current debate on integrated degrees is the fact that most schools have already moved onto new standards and are accredited for an integrated programme. Very few (if any) schools have graduated students with the "new" standards, thus should we not be evaluating this new breed of students first before embarking on a costly five year integrated programme?

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