MPC proposals for reform of pharmacist education and training

Modernising Pharmacy Careers (MPC) submitted proposals for reform of pharmacist pre-registration education and training as independent advice to the Secretary of State for Health in June 2011.

Medical Education England (MEE) endorsed submission of the proposals subject to their implementation being funded in a way that is sustainable, but also at least cost neutral overall across government. In his response to MPC, the Secretary of State acknowledged the key role pharmacists play in improving patient care, securing value for from NHS investment in medecines, and delivering the public health strategy, and therefore, the importance of pharmacists' basic education and training. 

The relevant recommendations are now being considered by the Department of Health (DH), Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). There is still much work to be done with stakeholders to determine how the proposals for reform might be implemented. The MPC Programme Board will continue to provide ongoing advice to the Secretary of State as the work progresses and, where appropriate, policy changes would be subject to public consultation. 

Professor Anthony Smith, Chair of the Council of University Heads of Pharmacy Schools (CUHOP) and Mr Rob Darracott, Chief Executive of the Company Chemists Association (CCA), were commissioned by the MPC Programme Board in 2009 to review current arrangements for pharmacist education and training and develop options for change. Supported by a Review Team, they informed their thinking through evidence gathering, input from pharmacy organisations, and by commissioning a report from Dr David Guile of The Institute of Education, University of London and an MPC Pharmacist Prescriber Training Working Group report.

  • The key proposals include formal partnerships between universities and employers and the delivery of a five-year integrated MPharm, with greater clinical practice experience for students, with the ultimate aim of delivering better care to patients and the public. The expectation is that the changes would allow patients, the public and the government to benefit more completely from the unique contribution that pharmacists, as medicines experts, can make to healthcare and safety.

    A discussion paper, outlining the proposals was made available for comment through the MEE website earlier this year. Professor Smith and Mr Darracott also met with organisations involved in the delivery of pharmacist undergraduate education and training to discuss the proposals, and used feedback from these meetings to further refine the proposals before submission to MEE and the Secretary of State.

    If you have any questions or comments on the MPC proposals for reform please email

Download MPC Report to MEE - Pharmacist pre-registration training (xxkb)