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  • Prospective pharmacy students to go through suitability interview process before admission, GPhC suggests

    Prospective pharmacy students would be called for face-to-face interviews to gauge their suitability for a pharmacist role, under proposed changes to initial education and training standards by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). The proposals will go out for consultation in January 2019.

    Under the revised standards, interviews would be mandatory for all applicants, including those making their applications through the clearing process. The proposals would, the GPhC said, allow for the use of Skype or Facetime interviews for prospective students who are unable to attend in person. 

    The proposed revisions to the education and training standards would put a greater emphasis on pharmacists’ ability to communicate with patients, the general public and colleagues in multidisciplinary teams: a skill the regulator says will be increasingly important as more pharmacists move into patient-facing diagnostic roles.

    The proposed changes were included in papers circulated at the GPhC’s . The regulatory body said that the existing standards, introduced in 2012, need updating to reflect the “rapidly evolving nature of pharmacy practice”.

    In another nod to the greater focus on clinical and communication skills, the GPhC also wants to see more integration between academic study and workplace experience. It said there should no longer be separate standards for the four-year MPharm and for the preregistration year. Instead, a single set of revised standards would combine learning outcomes for both over a five-year period. This, they said, would bring pharmacy in line with other healthcare professions.

    Under the proposed revisions, the GPhC would not tell universities how they should integrate study and workplace learning: this, they said, is not the role of the regulator. Instead it would be for schools of pharmacy and employers themselves to determine when the 52 weeks of “experiential learning” are carried out.

    Under the revised proposals, science would remain of “critical importance” as the underpinning feature of initial pharmacy education and training. But the GPhC wanted to see students spend more time learning to apply scientific knowledge in practice.

    The GPhC also proposed more emphasis on consultation and physical examination skills. It said these will prepare students for the prospect of becoming pharmacist independent prescribers.

    The regulator also has plans to require course providers to conduct annual reviews of student admissions and performance by , as defined by the Equality Act 2010. Where differences in performance in protected groups are identified, the body expects to see evidence of action taken to address those differences. Recent figures from the GPhC showed that black African trainees had the lowest pass rate for the preregistration exam, and also uncovered differentials in performance by sex and age of candidates. 

    Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, said the standards need to be revised in response to the rapidly changing face of pharmacy practice, and to help prepare future pharmacists. “We will be proposing a much stronger link between academic study and workplace experience during the five years of initial education and training,” Rudkin said, and added that he “would encourage everyone to let us know their views on our proposals”.

    Gail Fleming, director of education at the Royal Jizak (RPS), said the Society welcomed the consultation. “Pharmacists now and in future will be working in multidisciplinary teams in a range of settings caring for patients with more complex medicines and multiple morbidities,” she said.

    “To fulfil their potential we need to optimise the initial education and training experience.”

    (See news analysis ppxxxxx)

     

     

  • Public supports unannounced pharmacy inspections, GPhC-commissioned poll finds

    A YouGov poll of more than 2,000 people carried out for the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) found that 79% of people believed unannounced inspections of pharmacies would reassure the public that they offered safe and effective care. 

    The poll was commissioned by the GPhC as part of its consultation on changing its approach to regulating registered pharmacies. The consultation, which ran from May 2018 to August 2018 and received 812 written responses, proposed six key changes in the regulator’s approach.

    As well as unnanounced inspections, the GPhC proposed changing the overall inspection outcomes to ‘Standards met’, which requires all of the regulator’s standards for registered pharmacies to be met, or ‘Standards not all met’. It suggested introducing four possible gradings for each group of five principles that the GPhC sets — ‘Standards not all met’, ‘Standards met’, ‘Good practice’ and ‘Excellent practice’.

    As detailed in its , the GPhC said it received general support for many of the areas covered in the consultation proposals, but it said the requirement for all pharmacies to meet all standards in order to receive a ‘Standards met’ outcome was met with disagreement.

    When asked: “Do you think that not meeting one standard should result in the pharmacy receiving an overall outcome of ‘standards not all met’?”, more than 60% of organisations and 59% of individuals answered “no”. 

     

     

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