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Hospital pharmacists are facing a large number of challenges in the next few years in the UK, which will shape the agenda of the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists (GHP) who provide professional and industrial representation. Some of the changes affect pharmacists in all four home countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in different ways as we have greater devolution and increasingly what appears to be four health systems. Others have their effect mainly in England, particularly on the industrial front, following the election of a right of centre government. This is a personal and brief view of all of those challenges.
The professional landscape is changing in England. There is a programme of change for education of all health professions under the auspices of Medical Education England (shortly to be reorganised into Health Education England). The programme covering pharmacy is ‘Modernising pharmacy careers’, which has three major workstreams. Workstream 1 deals with undergraduates, following recognition that current education is not delivering sufficiently confident or clinically adept practitioners, there is agreement to move from what has been termed a 4 year scientifically orientated degree with a 1 year apprenticeship to a 5 year integrated degree. The 5 year integrated degree will have with greater multiprofessional training, patient contact and clinical training through teaching the science in a clinical context, increased placements in the workplace, increased clinical academics and improved diagnostic skills to facilitate the move to a greater prescribing and medicines optimisation role. Workstream 2 is still in the early stages as it seeks to address a number of problems, especially as there is little consensus …
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