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Foundation Training Year 2021/22

The Pre-registration programme for 2021/22 will be changing, both in title and content, as a phased approach to the implementation of major reforms to the initial education and training of pharmacists begins across the UK as pre-registration training transitions into a foundation training period starting in July 2021.

This page will provide updates on these changes and the implementation programme, over the next few months.

Introduction to Reforms to initial education and training

During the last decade pharmacists’ roles have evolved quickly in response to rapid changes in healthcare and pharmacy practice and there is a significant and growing demand across the UK for clinical, patient-facing pharmacist practitioners. It is vital that the pharmacy workforce is equipped to work flexibly alongside other health and care professionals, using their specific skills to help meet the changing demands in service provision and patient care. As a result, we need to ensure that the early stages of education and training of pharmacists are reformed to reflect the changing nature of practice, including the importance of assuring patient safety.

The Pharmaceutical Society NI and the GPhC undertook extensive joint consultation and engagement with stakeholders, including a public consultation in 2019, outlining the proposals to reform initial education and training. Reforms to the pharmacy undergraduate programme are also being progressed and will be implemented starting in autumn 2021 and completed within the next number of years.

Following approval by the Councils of both Pharmacy Regulators, the GPhC convened a working group, which includes the Pharmaceutical Society NI, to inform the final set of revised standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists and to drive the implementation of the standards.

In Northern Ireland, a parallel implementation group (the Education Reform Group) has been set up to complete the reforms here.

Following the finalisation of the standards, there will be a phased approach to implementation.  Reforms will start in July 2021 for those finishing their MPharm degree and beginning their fifth year of education and training.


28 July 2020 An update from the Chief Pharmaceutical Officers and UK Pharmacy Regulators

12 November 2020 – Stakeholder Engagement Event

On behalf of the NI Education Reform Group, the Pharmaceutical Society NI hosted an online meeting on 12 November 2020, to outline, and gain feedback on, initial thinking regarding the reforms.

The meeting was attended by over 70 people from across the pharmacy sector in Northern Ireland and was addressed by the following speakers, whose video presentations are available below.

The Implementation Group’s response to questions raised at the event is available here.

26 January 2021 New standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists

4 February 2021 Press Statement – The Pharmaceutical Society NI Council adopts new standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists

17 February 2021 Letter from Cathy Harrison, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, to registrants of the Pharmaceutical Society NI

Cathy Harrison, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, in a letter to registrants of the Pharmaceutical Society NI has welcomed a new era for pharmacist education and training following the approval by the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland of new initial education and training standards for pharmacists which marks a fundamental and exciting shift towards clinical practice for pharmacists.

The letter can be accessed here.