Background and Importance Climate change is acknowledged as ‘the most significant health threat that modern society has ever faced’(1). Medicines alone are responsible for 25% of the NHS’s carbon emissions. One aspect that needs to be explored is what is currently being taught in this area at undergraduate level.
Aim and Objectives To identify any current sustainable healthcare teaching included within pharmacy degrees in the UK. To establish whether respondents felt it was important for sustainability to be included within pharmacy degree programmes.
Material and Methods Two questionnaires, one for academics in the schools of pharmacy, and one for undergraduate pharmacy students, were compiled on Microsoft Forms. The staff questionnaire was sent to the Heads of School in all UK schools of pharmacy for completion by the most suitable staff member. The Head of School was asked to forward the student questionnaire link to their final year pharmacy students. Data was analysed using Excel and Chi squared. Ethical approval was gained from Queens University Belfast.
Results The staff questionnaire response rate was 28.6% (8/28). The student response rate for Northern Ireland institutions was 30.2% (42/139), an estimated response rate of 4.7% (14/300) was gained from respondents studying in Scotland. No responses were received from pharmacy students studying at Welsh or English universities. The majority of respondents (students: 98.2% staff: 87.5%) thought sustainability teaching was important. When students were asked if their Pharmacy degree had prepared them to apply sustainability in the pharmacy profession all respondents (100%) replied ‘No’ or ‘Don’t know’. All staff respondents replied ‘No’ to the same question. All student respondents stated that less than 5 hours teaching in sustainability had been delivered in their degree to date.
Conclusion and Relevance Sustainable healthcare teaching within UK pharmacy degree programmes is limited. There is a disconnect between student respondents ‘lived experience’ of sustainable topics in the MPharm and staff knowledge of the intended curriculum. There is a need for this content to be included in future Pharmacy degrees.
References and/or Acknowledgements 1. Watts N, et al. (2020). The 2020 Report of The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: responding to converging crises. Accessed on 6th September 2022.
Conflict of Interest No conflict of interest.
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