Existing user? Login

  • 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”. 



  • pause slideshow

Peanut kernels and shell

Researchers make breakthrough in potential treatment for peanut allergy

Children and young people with peanut allergy may be able to protect themselves from accidental ingestion by building up their tolerance to peanut protein over time, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown.

Blister packs of antibiotics

EMA confirms suspension or restriction of quinolone and fluoroquinolone antibiotics

The marketing authorisation of medicines containing cinoxacin, flumequine, nalidixic acid and pipemidic acid should be suspended and the use of the remaining fluoroquinolone antibiotics restricted, the European Medicines Agency has concluded following a 21-month review.

Pharmacy technician behind counter

Pharmacy technicians consulted on their views on supervision

Pharmacy technicians have been asked for their views on the future of pharmacy supervision.

Scottish flag

Universal staffing difficulties reported by Scottish pharmacy owners

Every respondent to a Community Pharmacy Scotland survey has reported having staffing issues. 

Pharmacy counter

Pharmacists need not dispense European prescriptions after no-deal Brexit, argues General Pharmaceutical Council

Pharmacists need not dispense prescriptions issued in another European country in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, the General Pharmaceutical Council has argued.

Cannabis oil vials

NICE publishes draft scope for new guideline on cannabis-based products for medicinal use

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has published a draft scope for its upcoming guidelines on cannabis-based products for medicinal use.


Revealed: Female pharmacists may be underpaid by thousands of pounds each year

Exclusive: There is a statistically significant gender pay gap in pharmacy, with a survey by Jizak showing female pharmacists are paid on average 6% less than their male colleagues.

All News

Robbie Turner, director of pharmacy at the RPS

Government report calls for more involvement from pharmacists in STP process

A government report has advised NHS England to write to sustainability and transformation partnership leaders, encouraging them to include pharmacists as they implement plans for the organisations.

Security camera watches pharmacy

GPhC given power to conduct covert investigations of pharmacists

The General Pharmaceutical Council now has the legal power to conduct covert surveillance of pharmacists following the passing of new legislation.

The NHS could be 350,000 staff short by 2030

NHS could be short of 350,000 staff by 2030, think tanks warn

The NHS could be 350,000 staff short of the number it needs to meet continuing demand by the end of 2030, according to a workforce analysis by three leading think tanks.

Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board

'Big wins' should be identified from new pharmacy contract proposals, RPS says

Pharmacy negotiators should identify “three big wins” to focus on in proposals for the new community pharmacy contractual framework, the Royal Jizak has said, as the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee publishes its revised suggestions for the contract.

Hospital emergency department

Winter pressure fears after highest ever emergency hospital admissions

Emergency hospital admissions have reached their highest level since data collection began, leading to fears that the NHS could face even more severe winter pressures than in previous years.

Hospital pharmacy waiting area

Six in ten UK hospital pharmacists encounter medicines shortages daily, finds survey

Six in ten hospital pharmacists in the UK have reported experiencing medicines shortages every day, according to a new survey carried out by the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists.

Medical cannabis growing

'Very few people' likely to get prescription for medical cannabis as it becomes legal in the UK

Prescriptions for medical cannabis are likely to be available for “very few people in England”, according to NHS guidance for patients, published on 1 November 2018.

All United Kingdom

Immunoglobulin drug 3d structure

Durvalumab increases overall survival in stage III non-small-cell lung cancerSubscription

The immune checkpoint inhibitor durvalumab significantly improves survival in people with stage III non-small-cell lung cancer, interim trial results published in The New England Journal of Medicine have shown.

Blood pressure check

Major study boosts knowledge of blood pressure geneticsSubscription

A study has found over 500 genetic regions, known as loci, that are associated with blood pressure characteristics and researchers say the information could enable high-risk individuals to be targeted earlier for hypertension prevention.

contraceptive pill packets

Newer hormonal contraceptives still associated with reduced risk of ovarian cancerSubscription

Researchers in Denmark found that newer combined hormonal contraceptives were still associated with a reduction in ovarian cancer risk in women of reproductive age.

Woman drinking water

Study results show increased hydration can prevent recurrent cystitis Subscription

Increased water intake can help prevent cystitis and reduce antibiotic use in women with recurrent infections who drink less than 1.5 litres of fluid a day, study results have shown.

Home blood pressure monitoring

Long-term maintenance interventions needed for sustained blood pressure controlSubscription

Research has shown that the benefits of a pharmacist-led intensive telemonitoring protocol for blood pressure (BP) control lasted for up to a year after the end of the intervention.

Person using mobile phone

Reminder apps improve self-reported adherence to cardiovascular medicinesSubscription

Medicine reminder apps can improve self-reported adherence to cardiovascular medicines, according to findings from a randomised clinical trial presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress.

Statins packet

Lack of evidence to support statin use in non-cardiovascular conditionsSubscription

There is a lack of ‘convincing’ evidence that statins improve outcomes in non-cardiovascular conditions, such as diabetes, a review has shown.

Doctor handling paperwork

Pharmacist prescribing support releases GP capacity, Scottish project showsSubscription

Prescribing support from specialist pharmacy staff could free up GPs’ time and capacity, results from a pilot project in Scotland have shown.

All Science

Special report

FIP 2018

The theme of the 78th FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is 'Pharmacy: Transforming outcomes!'.

The 2018 FIP congress in Glasgow, Scotland, brought together pharmacy practitioners and pharmaceutical scientists from around the world to consider ways of extending the role of pharmacists so that they play a full part in ensuring patients, and health systems, achieve full benefit from the medicines people take.

This is the first time that the FIP World Congress has been held in the UK for nearly 40 years. The last time was in 1979, making this a truly unique learning opportunity for pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists in Great Britain.

UK healthcare company RB was Gold Sponsor of this year’s congress.

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.