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Dear Editor, 

We would like to share some encouraging updates in response to your February 2022 article regarding the growing shortage of community pharmacists in Ireland. 

APPEL (Affiliation for Pharmacy Practice Experiential Learning) manages the experiential learning placements for all undergraduate pharmacy students in Ireland. In 2021, the greatest number of students were on placement since the integrated MPharm programme began in 2015. Over 560 pharmacy students spent time in community pharmacies, hospital pharmacy departments, pharmaceutical manufacturing and role-emerging practice sites across the country to contextualise their real-world knowledge of pharmacy practice. By the end of 2021, 144 new pharmacists joined the PSI pharmacists’ register, ready to practice in the profession of pharmacy (please see graphic). 

These student learning opportunities would not have been possible without the fantastic engagement and support of the pharmacy profession. Over 400 pharmacists were accredited as APPEL trainers in 2021, becoming role models and mentors to our future pharmacists. Nearly 1,300 individual placements were offered across the country for students in different years, ensuring students and placement providers found a perfect match to benefit them both during placement. 

We would like to acknowledge and thank the exceptional dedication of pharmacists, and wider pharmacy teams, without whose support pharmacy student progression would not have been possible. 

Over the coming year, we look forward to working with and hearing from our pharmacist colleagues and the wider APPEL stakeholder network as we continue to support our pharmacy students on their journey to qualification. 

We are proud to be helping prepare the next generation of pharmacists and hopeful for a bright future. 

Yours sincerely,