Wales to fund extended clinical placements for pharmacy undergrads
The Welsh Government has pledged additional investment to provide pharmacy students at universities with more hands-on training in clinical placements.
Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) has agreed new plans with the schools of pharmacies at Cardiff and Swansea universities that will give pharmacy undergraduates extra days of supervised placements in hospitals, GP practices and community pharmacies as part of their four-year course.
The additional funding announced today (August 4) will rise to more than £2.7m per year by April 2025, said HEIW. It said pharmacy schools will be able to access this funding “from the next academic year,” adding that funding will also be provided to help cover the costs of travel and accommodation during the placements, which will take place in all health boards across Wales.
HEIW claimed this will help pharmacists gain “the skills and expertise they need to meet patients’ and the NHS’s needs in the future,” including acting as independent prescribers upon registration.
Chief pharmaceutical officer Andrew Evans said: “Pharmacists are experts in medicines, and they are playing an increasingly important role in the delivery of NHS services in our hospitals, community pharmacies and GP practices. Wales is at the forefront of creating new and exciting opportunities for pharmacists to use their clinical skills. These changes will help us achieve our aspirations for the profession and make a real difference for patients.
“These changes will compliment NHS Wales’ profession-leading pharmacist foundation programme and make the undergraduate programmes offered by the schools of pharmacy at Cardiff and Swansea universities, even more attractive to potential students.
“This investment reinforces Wales is a great place to train, work and live for pharmacy professionals.”
Professor Pushpinder Mangat, executive medical director at HEIW, said: “This key decision by the Minister to support our plans is great news for current and future pharmacy students in Wales.
“Increasing the number and quality of clinical placements will ensure we meet the reformed initial education and training standards for pharmacists and that we produce pharmacists with enhanced clinical skills and the ability to independently prescribe medicines after five years of training rather than the minimum of eight years it takes currently.
“Historically pharmacy courses have been viewed as science rather than health degrees meaning they do not attract additional funding for clinical placements.
“These changes bring the training of pharmacists in line with doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.”