Proposals to introduce apprenticeships for pharmacists have been greeted with scepticism by readers of the online Chemist + Druggist magazine.

According to an online survey of readers, which include community pharmacists and their staff, just 5% said they would certainly have confidence in pharmacist colleagues who had trained under such a scheme rather than followed the traditional university route to a Master’s qualification.

Some 79% of the 202 respondents said they could not support such apprenticeships under any circumstances, while a more cautious 16% said it would depend on the specific proposals and training provided.

‘Dumbing down’ fears

The proposals were put together by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IATE), an employer-led public bod, with input from pharmacy companies among others.

The apprenticeships would see trainees on placements with pharmacy companies and would lead to a Level Seven award, equivalent to a Master’s degree.

But many practising pharmacists fear the plans would lead to a dumbing-down of their profession, saying that trainees would miss out on learning theory and would instead focus solely on practice.

Meeting industry standards

A 10-day consultation on the plans garnered 6,000 responses, which are now under consideration.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) said that concerns raised by its members had prompted the institute to agree to provide more detail on the proposals soon.

[su_quote cite=”General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) “]“Any course would need to meet our standards and would need to be accredited by us, and any trainees would need to pass our registration assessment before coming on to the register.”[/su_quote]

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