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PSI welcomes higher education authority report on building capacity in higher education for pharmacy programmes

By Irish Pharmacist - 01st Aug 2023

Report indicates potential to create over 190 new pharmacy places

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), the pharmacy regulator, welcomes the announcement of the potential for building capacity in higher education programmes for pharmacy.

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) report to Government recommends that with additional investment, there is scope to create over 190 places in pharmacy education annually and up to 1,400 places across healthcare and veterinary medicine.

The announcement by Government Ministers follows the request to the Higher Education Authority to assess the potential for additional third level places to meet future workforce needs and skills development across five professional disciplines.

The PSI was pleased to participate in the HEA’s Expert Advisory Panel earlier this year to review institutions’ proposals for expanding the capacity of academic places.

As the regulatory authority for pharmacy in Ireland, the PSI has an important role in assuring high standards of education and training in pharmacy. The PSI is responsible for accrediting and approving educational programmes for pharmacy and for setting the accreditation standards that must be met on an ongoing basis by the approved pharmacy programme providers.

PSI Registrar and Chief Officer, Ms Joanne Kissane, said: “While there is work yet to be done to identify funding and put in place the key components needed to roll-out these significant education and training programmes, we welcome the consideration being given by Government for healthcare education capacity including the options outlined for pharmacy through expansion of places within existing programmes and identifying new academic institutions interested in providing new MPharm programmes.”

“The standard of pharmacy programmes in Ireland is high, and we will play our part to support any future developments so that, with education providers, we maintain the requisite high standards in education and training for qualifying pharmacists whose knowledge and competence must meet patient and health service needs and ensure safe and effective patient care.

“The opportunity to increase the number of pharmacy graduates in Ireland aligns with some of our ongoing work undertaken with partners across the health, pharmacy, and education space, to consider workforce issues and to create a framework to respond to future pharmacy workforce needs as part of a whole of healthcare approach. These recommendations include ensuring that the number of pharmacy students being trained in Ireland is sufficient to meet the needs of the sector, informed by national strategic workforce planning and modelling.

“As the regulatory body charged with assuring trust in pharmacy, we have an important role in the context of education and training and will be pleased to support and engage with education providers and other healthcare stakeholders on these proposed developments.”

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