Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) has voiced its opposition to new plans to introduce a new five-year year apprenticeship as an alternative to the existing degree-only route to qualifying.
Consultation on the proposal, which has been put forward by a group of pharmacy employers, was ‘not well advertised’ and too short for interested parties to answer key questions, CPS says.
CPS goes on to claim that while ‘we do not necessarily oppose the creation of apprenticeship standards in this occupation’ this proposition is ‘not well enough developed to allow us to make a key decision’.
Pharmacists could enter through the profession through a five-year apprenticeship instead of the usual degree route under the plans being reviewed by the UK Government’s Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education. Currently, pharmacists in Scotland undertake a four-year degree followed by a year of training.
Apprenticeship policy is devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, meaning the standards, if approved, would only apply to England.
Regardless, CPS has serious concerns about how the plans were drawn up:
‘The introduction of an apprenticeship model would be a step-change in how people enter the profession, and all affected must explore and appreciate the implications of this. That the proposal appears to have been developed in relative isolation is to its detriment, as we must understand what the impact upon the profession, the public, patients, prospective students, higher education institutions or employers in a wider sense are, and a short consultation which is not advertised will not provide this.’
Elsewhere, it warns the plans do not include enough formal training to ensure apprentices will have ‘the appropriate minimum underpinning knowledge’.
CPS says it cannot support the apprenticeship ‘without further detail’.
Story supplied by healthandcare.scot