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Education and training

Interim foundation programme will not have protected time for training, HEE says

Exclusive: The newly introduced programme will offer provisionally registered pharmacists educational supervision and workplace assessments.

pharmacy pre registration trainee and tutor


The programme will include workplace assessments to help pharmacists “identify their strengths and areas for development”

The newly introduced interim foundation programme for provisionally registered pharmacists in England will not be “mandating time out of practice for training”, a spokesperson for Health Education England (HEE) has told The Pharmaceutical Journal.

However, it will include educational supervision to “support the foundation pharmacists to reflect upon their performance”, and workplace assessments to help pharmacists “identify their strengths and areas for development”.

HEE told The Pharmaceutical Journal that the programme is not mandatory for provisionally registered pharmacists, although it would “encourage all eligible participants to opt into the programme when registration opens”. Registration days will be announced in further updates, it added.

As part of the programme, HEE said, provisionally registered pharmacists will use “work-based experiences and reflection to identify areas of good practice and further development opportunities”, with workplace assessments to help them identify “strengths and areas for development”. The programme will be largely vocational, with personal learning objectives being managed by the provisionally registered pharmacists themselves.

HEE added that there will be an “emphasis on using online resources” to allow for “flexible delivery and access to content” and to help provisionally registered pharmacists “balance personal development while working”.

Plans for the interim foundation programme, which HEE has said it is fully funding, were first announced on 23 July 2020 in a letter from Alan Ryan, director of national transformational programmes at HEE, and Richard Cattell, deputy chief pharmaceutical officer for NHS England and NHS Improvement. It is due to start in September 2020.

Gail Fleming, director of education and professional development at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said that the Society would expect provisionally registered pharmacists to be “supported by educational and practice supervisors with regular scheduled and documented meetings, which focus on constructing an individualised training and development plan for each pharmacist.

“In some work settings and smaller organisations, these roles could be delivered by the same person.”

NHS England and HEE have also proposed that from July 2021, the current pre-registration year be replaced with a foundation programme across the UK, subject to consultation. This programme could include independent prescriber training for all trainee pharmacists.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2020.20208245

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