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Scotland to explore options to develop an integrated 5 year Pharmacy programme


Building on the success of its existing Pharmacy four-year degree plus one year pre-registration training programme, Scotland has announced plans to explore options to develop an integrated 5 year pharmacy programme with a view to further improve the current training arrangements. 

The current one year Pre-Registration Pharmacist Scheme (PRPS) in Scotland is managed by NHS Education for Scotland (NES) for the 170 trainees and funded through the Scottish Government. NES manages the national recruitment, training programmes and quality management processes for the PRPS. Unique in the UK, it is recognised as a successful scheme and has allowed trainees to benefit from a standardised training programme in which they and their tutors, are fully supported to meet the requirements of the pharmacy regulator.

Scotland's Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Professor Rose Marie Parr said:

"In response to current and future workforce developments, the Cabinet Secretary, Shona Robison, has agreed for me to scope out a new policy intention to evolve the existing pharmacist four-year undergraduate degree and the one-year pre-registration pharmacist training scheme in Scotland into an integrated five year programme to support the initial education of pharmacists in Scotland.

"These developments should lead to further integration of undergraduate education and pre-registration training and better prepare new pharmacists for practice in Scotland. Another benefit will be improved management of pharmacy trainee numbers to meet workforce demands both in terms of initial recruitment and on-going career progression and this supports Ministerial priorities to strengthen the workforce, especially in primary care."

Professor Anne Watson, Postgraduate Pharmacy Dean at NES welcomed the announcement:

"We are looking forward to working with the two Schools of Pharmacy in Scotland and other key stakeholders to scope out this work. We hope to build on the success of the undergraduate MPharm programmes at the two Schools along with PRPS in Scotland to provide benefits which will enhance the experiential and clinical training provided for the pharmacists of the future, trained in Scotland."

In Scotland, the MPharm undergraduate degree is currently taught at the two Schools of Pharmacy  – Robert Gordon University (RGU) and the University of Strathclyde.

Professor Don Cairns, the Head of School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences at RGU and Professor Robin Plevin, Head of Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde made a joint statement:

"This is an important initiative and we are both delighted to be involved in planning the future direction for Pharmacy in Scotland.  The existing integrated Scottish Pre-registration Pharmacist Scheme is already considered ‘best practice’ for the training of pharmacists and these proposals will allow for further integration into a 5 year period of training." 


For more information contact:

Mary-Jo O'Brien, Corporate Communications Manager, NHS Education for Scotland (NES) tel. 0131 656 3213 email