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In Scotland, we are part of the ongoing discussions with the GPhC with regard to the reforms planned for the initial education and training (IE&T) of pharmacists across the United Kingdom. This has become more urgent for the profession as a result of our learning from the COVID-19 pandemic.


There have been ongoing discussions about planned reforms for the five years of IE&T in Scotland and we will ensure that these will continue to be in line with the GPhC working group revised IE&T Standards for pharmacists with phased implementation from July 2021.


We are aware that there are many messages about changes to Pharmacy training on social media and it may be confusing for student pharmacists currently applying for pre-registration posts. For clarity, student pharmacists who are applying for their fifth year of Pharmacy training in Scotland (currently called the Pre-registration training year) following completion of their MPharm degree,  should continue to engage with the current Oriel recruitment process which is underway. There will continue to be a fully funded fifth year of training commencing from July/August 2021 within Scotland for 235 trainees which will be in line with the GPhC requirements for the rest of the UK.


Dr Rose Marie Parr (Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Scottish Government) stated:

“We are delighted that these reforms to initial education and training for pharmacists have been expedited by the GPhC in response to the learning from COVID-19. We have been planning major reforms in Scotland over the last few years with many of these changes already being implemented. You can see this in the MPharm programmes in the two Schools of Pharmacy in Scotland and within our current pre-registration training programme and foundation programme planned to link with pharmacists becoming independent prescribers. This will be crucial for us to meet the demands on the profession in the future.”


Professor Anne Watson (Postgraduate Pharmacy Dean, NHS Education for Scotland) stated:

“The reforms planned by the GPhC are in the same direction of travel that we have planned for the initial education and training of pharmacists in Scotland. This will ensure that we upskill our future pharmacists as quickly as possible to be clinically competent professionals with independent prescribing roles within their practice. We absolutely encourage the current cohort of MPharm students applying for their fifth year of training (currently termed by the GPhC as the Pre-registration training year) to continue as planned through the Oriel process in order for them to commence training from 2021. For the 2021/22 training year we will be offering 235 fully funded training places with an excellent educational programme and support package.”


Any professional or student queries around this should be directed to pharmacy@nes.scot.nhs.uk


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