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Stop science focus for pharmacy degrees, chief pharmacist says


I totally agree with Billy’s comment. Surely the science content of the MPharm differentiates us from other healthcare professionals and enables us to do our job?! As a pharmacy student I feel that there are two aspects of my degree at University which complement each other. There is the academic aspect and the clinical aspect. I spend hours studying the science part through lectures and workshops and this in turn informs my ability to provide a healthcare service to patients during my OSCEs, clinical stations or when I am on placement. Developing my people skills so that I convey my science understanding of a patient’s medicines and can ascertain what is wrong with them is equally valuable as the academic side. They work in tandem. I’m not a pharmacist if I don’t have expertise in each aspect, I would struggle to uphold core features of the Seven Principles without them. We are medicines experts. It is our science expertise that gives us value and will enable us to expand our role. Does any other healthcare professional have the chemistry, pharmaceutics and pharmacology knowledge to best manage a patient or contribute to drug development? Could the guidance in the BNF be written by pharmacists without scientific knowledge? No. Science underpins my degree and I would be totally lost without it. It opens up so many doors and enables you to be a professional. I don’t think you can rightfully be called a pharmacist without a science education. I think this idea that Scott has conjured up is a stark reflection on the regressive role of pharmacists and how pharmacy education needs to be radicalised to meet the demands of our patients. We need to be pioneering and parading our scientific knowledge to secure innovative commissioning contracts and to show patients and the NHS how we have so much more to offer them. We should not confine ourselves to hiding behind a dispensing desk checking a prescription (which you also need scientific knowledge for as protocol would only get you so far). How on earth would pharmacists rise to the fantastic opportunities proposed by Health Education England in their "Modernising Pharmacy Careers" programme without a science background to inform their practice? The only sense I can make of Scott's comments is that perhaps the varying degree courses at each pharmacy school are not producing graduates with adequate clinical skills. Healthcare provision is something that every healthcare professional should be capable of providing. If newly qualified pharmacists are not up to this standard then questions need to be asked of the GPhC. Say NO to Scott. Don’t take the heart out of our profession.

Posted date

10 SEP 2014

Posted time



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