Last updated: 30.12.13

Training for pharmacists 'needs to improve'

Healthcare training in pharmacies across the UK must improve if an increasing number of patients' needs are to be met on the high street.

According to a report published by Which? earlier this year, mystery shopper analysis revealed that the advice on offer regarding specific health issues varied from pharmacy to pharmacy.

This indicates there is a skills gap that needs to be closed with proper training if the public is to have complete faith in the solutions provided by pharmacists.

Time must be set aside to equip employees of independent companies, supermarket pharmacies and major brands with sufficient product knowledge and the confidence to answer questions precisely.

However, due to pharmacists' long shifts, heavy workloads and time restraints, it is likely difficult for managers to fit in training sessions - but this can be solved by taking advantage of e-learning platforms. 

Staff in this industry are bombarded with information that isn't always fully absorbed face-to-face, but having access to online resources that allow them to digest data at their own pace could be extremely valuable.

It is also useful for cutting administrative costs that can causes many problems in healthcare, and freeing up time during the working day.

What's more, given that pharmacists in the UK are expected to play a more important role than ever in supporting the changes within the NHS, it is crucial that the knowledge of pharmacists all over the country is up to scratch.

As healthcare skills expert Dave Bull rightly puts it in an article for PM Live, "the overall implications are that pharmacy will be challenged to reach its full potential if it cannot get the time, and sufficient training, for effective product education."

He also commented on the growing role pharmacy is playing in helping patients and healthcare consumers, enforcing the need for training in this sector to be of a high standard.