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Pharmacy student numbers will not be controlled

The number of pharmacy students will not be capped, says Health Education England (HEE)

Source: bibiphoto /

Pharmacy student numbers will not be capped, but a five-year pharmacy degree with integrated work placements is a possibility

Pharmacy student numbers will not be capped, says Health Education England (HEE) in the long-awaited response to a consultation on pharmacy education and training reforms. 

Introduction of an intake control was the highly favoured option by the majority of the 183 respondents to the consultation, but HEE, the agency responsible for the training of NHS staff, went against this. “In light of the wider higher education policy on student intake controls announced in the 2013 Autumn Statement a student intake control for MPharm students will not be introduced,” it said. 

HEE says it is working with the Department of Health on the options for introducing a five-year degree with integrated work placements. This would replace the current four-year degree plus the pre-registration work placement year. The work placements are partially funded by the government, so will still require NHS planning. 

In 2013, in light of the growing number of pharmacy schools and a predicted oversupply of pharmacists, HEE together with Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE) suggested three options for tackling pharmacy student numbers: allow the free market to continue, control student numbers or create a break point into the degree. The Pharmacy Schools Council, which represents 27 schools, has welcomed the announcement, saying it is imperative that the contribution of the “profession to healthcare is recognised and that there is scope to consider the role of pharmacists in the future”. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20066866

Readers' comments (4)

  • it has to be said that without regulation it is tantamount to destroying the profession. Should the GPHC or the RPS not be the one with the ultimate charge of regulating numbers. The HEE seems to be actually setting the stage to destroy a very respectable profession of ours. However if demand and supply were to rule then its just a matter of time when universities see the request to study pharmacy drop as graduates will not be having suitable jobs if any at all and that would stem the profit cash cow they have been getting in an unregulated solid profession as ours

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  • I agree with Adetayo.
    It is interesting that this is the only comment (so far) on the article.
    The same article on the C&D comments have raised a torrent of similar comments.

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  • This is a big problem, there could be a huge oversupply of pharmacists in the next decade. Pay for community pharmacists will decrease as well.

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  • Graham Phillips

    My letter on this here:

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