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New state-of-the-art School of Pharmacy welcomed by stakeholders


A new School of Pharmacy, which will increase the availability of pharmacists in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, was launched at the University of Hertfordshire last night.

Training more pharmacists will ensure that the NHS strategy to improve access to health advice and services will be made available to the community, making 24-hour pharmacies a reality.

The launch attracted approximately 200 guests from industry, community pharmacies and local representatives. In a video clip which Professor Soraya Dhillon, Head of the new School showed at the launch, some of these stakeholders welcomed a new school on their doorstep which will address staff shortages in the industry, work towards creating more pre-registration places and enable professionals to train and work locally.

Mr Hemant Patel, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, guest of honour at the launch event, praised the new School, which bears testimony to clear leadership and teamwork and which will provide new opportunities for academia and industry to work together.

The new School which is located within the Faculty of Health & Human Sciences, will house state-of-the-art technology. Students will develop clinical skills in an integrated multiprofessional skills laboratory which will house a new mock pharmacy with a robotic dispenser.

The School has just witnessed its first intake of 54 students on its MPharm course. Unique features of the degree programme include interprofessional learning modules with other disciplines within the Faculty of Health & Human Sciences, such as the schools of Nursing and Midwifery, Radiography and Psychology. By the time they have qualified, the pharmacists will be trained in diagnosis and medication review which will prepare them to take on new roles in non-medical prescribing.

Students will be trained in the University’s new facilities: a 75-capacity Chemistry laboratory, an expanded one for Pharmacology Analytical Science and a new one for Physiology. Further laboratory developments include one for formulation sciences and a new sterile suite.

Advanced technological facilities will also make it possible to provide video links with community pharmacies so that students at the School can watch a community pharmacist conduct ‘live’ consultations with patients

According to Professor Dhillon, close links with the health economy and the local pharmaceutical industry have made this School a reality.

She commented: “Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire has been an area where there is a clear shortage of pharmacists. We believe that our work with NHS partners and the local pharmaceutical industry will attract more pharmacists to the region. We will work with these stakeholders to make this happen. Our work with stakeholders will also enable us to develop pre-registration work placements.”

Helene Murphy | alfa
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