Pharmacists in Scotland - five-year integrated education programme: scoping report

Report on the integration of the existing four-year pharmacist degree and one-year training scheme into a single five-year programme.

Advisory Group: Meeting Three

The group received a presentation from the University of Nottingham regarding their experience of implementing a five-year integrated MPharm.

University of Nottingham: Tom Gray

The presentation described the structure and delivery of their five-year course which was a fully integrated degree focused on science, practice, placements and IPL. The course had commenced with international students only and their first cohort of ten students was due to graduate in July 2017. The drivers and priorities included the NHS workforce and its demand for demonstrable knowledge, skills, values and behaviours (pharmacists who were professional, flexible, capable and adaptable) and the ambition for patient-centred care recognising multi-professional working across traditional boundaries. Nottingham introduced multiple-mini interviews ( MMIs) in 2013 to help recruit students with academic ability as well as appropriate attributes for professional practice.

They had opted for the five-year integrated model because there was strong evidence on the value of experiential learning in reflective learning and practice in a spiral curriculum. EL started from year one, but the real value came from proper placement periods to ensure meaningful, insightful, appreciation of good interprofessional working; students moved from individual to group to team approaches. On years four and five the focus was on professional socialisation: role modelling, reflection, formative and developmental.

The Advisory Group was in agreement that the key issues on why things needed to change had been clearly identified and argued, and there was now a need to consider a proposal for change in order that the practical implications for all stakeholders could be considered. Key issues included: the needs of the service and areas for improvement including admission processes and experiential learning; the student numbers; the finances; the longer term implications of improved workforce planning data; and the general direction of travel for the NHS. The group needed to take into account the emerging role of the pharmacist, how many were needed and then how undergraduate (and postgraduate) education best supported those requirements.

There was a clear view across the group that the status quo wasn't an option. It was agreed to remove the status quo option leaving both the enhanced 4+1 or five-year integrated models be progressed. The group acknowledged the challenges associated with changing culture, and that academic processes and changes to the academic year that would be at odds with their academic institutions would require agreement from the senior management at the universities.


Email: Elaine Muirhead

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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