UK Government to introduce fast-track training for pharmacists to become doctors

In a recent statement released by the Department of Health and Social Care, it is reconsidering “flexible” approach to medical training. The latest development could thus mean that pharmacists would require to undertake 5,500 hours of training over at least 5,500 hours of training and a minimum of five years to become a doctor, as per the requirements set by the EU.

According to reports, the plans were first introduced during NHS England’s Health and Care Innovation Expo by Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England.

In his statement, Stevens announced, the “newly designed courses could take into account existing qualifications, training and experience, making it easier and quicker for existing healthcare professionals, such as physiotherapists or pharmacists to train as doctors.”

He further added, the new venture will “contribute to the government’s ongoing recruitment commitment” of adding 6,000 GPs to the NHS workforce by 2025.

In the wake of the latest announcement the Royal Pharmaceutical Society commented on 31 January 2020 that encouraging pharmacists to retrain as doctors could make the task of recruiting pharmacists into primary care networks “even more of a challenge”, instead calling for “a strategic approach to workforce planning to avoid adding further pressures on already hard-working frontline staff”.

The potential changes to medical training for pharmacists is followed by a General Pharmaceutical Council consultation document based on primary education and training standards for pharmacists, published in January 2019. Based on the document pharmacy training requirements “may change depending on the outcome of Brexit negotiations”.

According to the EU directive, pharmacy training must be inclusive of “four years of full-time theoretical and practical training” followed by a “six-month traineeship” in a pharmacy or hospital.