What is your view on the limitation of pharmacy undergraduate numbers? Given that the Government has recently refuted the RPS's proposals, where should we go from here?
The argument should be for control of entry grade requirements to the MPharm and not the control of student numbers.
I do not believe it is the Government's job to limit pharmacy student numbers in an attempt to control pharmacists' job security and remuneration. The argument that pharmacist student numbers should be controlled in the same way as dental and medical student numbers is unproductive as it ignores the truth that all other graduate professions are not beneficiaries of such control. More importantly it does not address the value of pharmacists' input as health care professionals which is the number one task we face. We must be seen as clinicians and must practice as clinicians and only by this will more NHS funding come our way and increase remuneration and job security.
Linked to student numbers there is the issue that increasing student numbers and schools of pharmacy will lead to less qualified students being admitted. I know for a fact that some schools have accepted students with C grades at A-Level especially through clearing. The provision of pharmaceutical care in every field of pharmacy practice is becoming more complex so the profession needs pharmacists who are able to manage the increasing levels of complexity. Dumbing down entry grades in order to fill places may result in pharmacists who may not be able to deal with the current and future complex delivery of health care. Many students still believe that all they will be doing is dispensing!
Being a member of a political party I had an inkling that the Government would not control student numbers because Higher Education is a money spinner for the UK economy and controlling student intake would be an act against this.
So the argument should be for control of entry requirements to the MPharm and not the control of student numbers. The ‘powers that be’ in pharmacy have got the argument completely wrong. We need to lobby the Schools of Pharmacy to ensure that they stick rigidly to AAB or ABB entry grades and this in itself will limit student numbers.
My LinkedIn article entitled “Is it the Government’s job to protect pharmacists’ salaries?” may provide further insight into my views on this issue. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/governments-job-protect-pharmacists-salaries-samir-vohra-mfrpsii?trk=mp-author-card
Really pissed off with this. Rather than fully supporting more pharmacists into GP practice the Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Bruce Warner prefers to create barriers. He says the NHS can't be reckless in implementing this. Contrast this with the Royal College of GPs who said that the proposals should be enacted without delay. If the Royal College doesn't have any problems why does Warner? Good on David Banford of the RPS English Pharmacy Board by responding that specifying specific skills and training was unnecessary. We really do not need people like Warner around. I have no clinical diploma and have not completed a prescribing course but i work in a GP practice, I do chronic disease management, control the triage, and prescribe, prescribe, prescribe. Reminds me of the days when we had to be accredited for enhanced services in every area with everyone having different training requirements - thanks goodness we can self declare now.
Good news today as the RPS and Royal College of GPs announce that they want more pharmacists to be employed in GP practices to ease the pressure on primary care. Please read the announcement at http://www.rcgp.org.uk/news/2015/march/pharmacists-set-to-work-in-gp-surgeries.aspxThis will mean more opportunities for all pharmacists and will ease the concern of what to do with all the new pharmacists qualifying.
Read my post in LinkedIn title "Best not to be interviewed by pharmacists" available at:
Is it a question of whether we need science at all in the pharmacy degree or rather do we need as much science that exists currently? When I did my degree (1990-93) it was over 90% science. These days it is less but still a substantial portion of the learning in the MPharm.
The pot was thoroughly stirred when it was suggested science should be done away with at this year’s RPS Conference and there followed arguments on both sides of the debate. My view is that we do need the science. The requirement by the GPhC to integrate science and practice teaching does away with stand alone science modules and this move should be applauded. No more modules just on medicinal chemistry - whoopee!
Many pharmacists state that they never use the science once they start practice but this is untrue: yes pharmacists almost never use HPLC machines ever again and there may not be any pharmacology and pharmaceutics in labelling and bagging, but, the MUR advanced service provides a good example of constant application of science learned in the pharmacy degree.
During an MUR pharmacists must ascertain whether there are any issues with the pharmaceutical form of the medicines taken and, if there are, suggest suitable alternative formulations. Without being taught the pharmacology of drugs pharmacists would not know the nature of any side-effect experienced by the patient i.e. whether it was related to its pharmacology or was idiosyncratic, and thus advise the patient on what steps to take next.
I would go so far as to say that without an extensive knowledge of pharmacy relevant scientific disciplines the pharmacist would not be a pharmacist anymore but merely another healthcare professional for which we would have to make up a new name: health promotionist perhaps?
So, the Government has announced they have no intention of regulating pharmacy undergraduate student numbers.This is great news for schools of pharmacy who will no doubt increase their intakes and reap the financial benefits. It’s good news for pharmacists who want to work in education since more students mean more teaching and marking which should lead to an increase in job opportunities in the sector. The fact that a few students (there’s no way to know yet what percentage) may not be able to obtain a pre-reg placement concerns some such as the BPSA but this state of affairs is common to other degree courses e.g. law: law students do not all get guaranteed training contracts and they are aware of this when they start their course. Why should it be different for pharmacy students?
An oversupply of students seeking pre-reg places should drive up professional standards by ensuring that only those with the highest grades and who can demonstrate their dedication to the profession by securing part-time employment in a pharmacy (or other retail or healthcare environment) will stand out from the crowd and get the much coveted pre-reg placement. Unless of course the student’s uncle or aunt or cousin or family friend owns a pharmacy in which case it won’t matter and they’ll be laughing at their fellow students all the way to their very easily secured pre-reg placement.
Community pharmacists will be the losers: lower pay, more competition for limited job opportunities and more pressure to perform beckon. Pharmacists working for the NHS are less vulnerable because of the existence of NHS salary scales and tangible career progression routes. The competition to secure hospital pre-registration placements will be fierce. Prospective pharmacy students should think long and hard before they embark on the four year MPharm: it’s a gigantic long-term financial commitment for an 18-year old and disappointment after four years will leave a very bitter taste indeed.
The Government’s position is also contradictory if not hypocritical: if their decision was based on the premise of competition then why exactly do we have the control of entry rules for opening pharmacies? Aren’t the control of entry rules 100% anti-competitive and anti-free market?
Interesting situation in the pharmacy today. I had to dispense clarithromycin 125/5ml x70ml. I picked the product from the shelf and read the reconstitution instructions - see photo. Questions that need answering:
1) how to measure 41.3ml correctly?
2) how to measure two-thirds of 41.3ml?
3) would this make a good task in the undergraduate MPharm dispensing exam?
4) is Sandoz having a laugh?
5) was there a camera in the pharmacy watching what I would do?
Fortunately there was also a Ranbaxy brand on the shelf which required a very sensible 40ml of potable water for reconstitution. So I used this instead.
What if there had not been the Ranbaxy brand.......?
I will write a letter to Sandoz to ask them for clarification and for them to change their formulation. Other pharmacists must have come across this. What did you do?
Interesting to read in the PJ that the GPhC is considering moving the pre-reg assessment from the Friday to the Thursday in 2015 due to Ramadan due to its duty under the Equality Act. This got me thinking: instead of moving the assessment isn't it time the GPhC thought about REmoving the exam altogether for the following reasons:
What do you think? Please complete the short questionnaire on the front page.
I think it's interesting what the results of the two polls on my homepage reveal (http://www.samvohra.com/).
It appears that at a time when independent pharmacies are going the way of the dodo a clear majority of respondents would prefer working with independents. Why are independents so popular? A surprise was that the remaining fifth of respondents would prefer working for supermarkets. Again, why is this the case? The national chains didn't get a look in.
The second poll results are a bit of a disappointment. The top reason given for choosing pharmacy as a career is that respondents didn't get into medicine or dentistry. This means that there are pharmacists/students that are starting their career without their hearts really in the profession. Let's hope they change their minds as their career progresses as pharmacy has many faces and has a lot to offer. Another main reason given is the belief that pharmacy is well paid; it is compared to other professions but when you consider the fear of oversupply of pharmacists that has made news recently in the pharmacy press and anecdotal evidence that some pharmacists are working for £10 per hour, will these respondents be disappointed in the future? Fortunately, over a third of respondents gave the thumbs up to the 'positive' responses available.
Check out the two polls' results yourself on the homepage.