Pharmacy schools call for recognition of pharmacists’ contribution to healthcare

The Pharmacy Schools Council has made it a priority to increase public understanding of pharmacists’ contribution to both healthcare and the economy.

This is one of the key positions outlined in the Council’s new Strategic Plan, which will guide the collective efforts of UK pharmacy schools for the next five years.

Pharmacists have the knowledge and skills to improve patient care, from front-line service delivery to research and leadership roles. Through their work in industry they are a pillar the UK’s pharmaceutical and biotech sectors, leading to significant gains to the economy and of course expanding the capabilities of the health service in treating patients.

Building on links with industry is another of the priorities set out in the strategy, with pharmacy schools seeking to drive investment in UK pharmaceutical science research and ensure that it remains world-leading. Pharmacy is a key bridge between sectors, public and private, health and higher education, so this bridge must be maintained and developed. The focus of this is improved medicines and the optimisation of their use for patients.

Achieving this will require the continued supply of high-quality graduates who are as capable in industry as they are in the pharmacy and hospital. The Council’s renewed focus on curriculum and assessment will ensure a high minimum standard required to graduate across all pharmacy schools. Keeping the content of courses focused on the needs of patients, employers, and protecting its rigorous core elements, will be central to this. Understanding and enhancing minimum standards requires a strong relationship between educators and the regulator, and pharmacy schools are committed to maintaining this relationship.

The Pharmacy Schools Council acts as a national voice for the pharmacy schools, allowing them to provide leadership and expertise where important sectors meet. The Council works with key partners in these sectors such as the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the General Pharmaceutical Council, and others in sectors beyond, to ensure the continued excellence of pharmacy education. This new strategy will set the agenda for the Council’s future collaboration.

Professor Nigel Ratcliffe, Chair of the Pharmacy Schools Council, said:

‘We know that pharmacists are some of the most capable people in healthcare. It’s time to make sure that everyone is aware just how skilled they are and what knowledge they have. Few are aware that in the UK the undergraduate education of a pharmacist is at Master’s level

‘We believe that workforce planning in the health service should therefore place even greater emphasis on the contribution that these brilliant individuals make. Optimising their input in healthcare can further help ensure that resources are balanced more efficiently. This is cost effective and will improve patient care. The science behind new medicines is accelerating at a tremendous pace. Ensuring the optimisation of the use of new and established medicines is extremely important and the Pharmacist is well equipped to lead in this domain.

‘To make this case we want to build on our already strong links with partners across the sector, to make sure that the provision and use of medicines in the UK is world-leading and to ensure that the education of pharmacists in the UK continues to be world-leading.’

Link: The Pharmacy Schools Council Strategic Plan 2017–2021



  1. The Pharmacy Schools Council represents the collective interests of 30 UK schools of pharmacy. It provides a source of expert opinion and advice on matters concerning pharmacy education from the perspective of UK pharmacy schools. For more information, visit
  2. For matters concerning this press release, or the activities of the Pharmacy Schools Council more broadly, please contact Edward Knight, Senior Communications Officer, at, or call on 020 7419 5427.