The Initial Education and Training Standards
of Pharmacists reforms (IETP)

In January 2021, the GPhC published the revised Standards for the Initial Education and Training of Pharmacists.
This is an exciting moment for the profession, as it provides a set of new learning outcomes that:

Span the whole 5-year initial training period (MPharm degree and the Foundation Training Year) and can link to a continuum of development into post-registration.

Provide newly qualified pharmacists with the necessary consultation skills and confidence to provide the clinical services expected by patients and the NHS, working across health systems.

Will enable pharmacists to be independent prescribers at the point of registration. This will be introduced in a future foundation training year, with the 2021/22 interim learning outcomes being used before reaching this point.

HEE will play a key role in these reforms, more information can be found on the HEE Initial education and training of pharmacists - reform programme website below.

The landscape of the education and training of the early career pharmacists’ will be altered dramatically by the introduction of these reforms. We have seen some accelerated changes already as a direct impact of the pandemic. The NHS People Plan cited the transformation in early careers training as being critical in the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.

HEE plays a key role in defining how foundation training and the transition years will be implemented and quality assured, through using learning from other professions and the implementation and evaluation of the Interim Foundation Pharmacist Programme (IFPP).

To ensure the region successfully implements the changes required, HEE LaSE has developed the Early Careers (EC) programme. The programme brings together, under one umbrella, the Foundation Training Year (formally known as pre-registration) and the post-registration programmes. More information can found on the EC programme below.

What is an Early Careers Pharmacist?

Early Careers refers to initial period where pharmacists begin their professional development journey in practice, this includes the Foundation Training Year (previously known as the pre-registration year) and post-registration period until they develop their skills prior to advance practice. Information for the Foundation Training Year (formally known as the Pre-registration Training) and post registration training can be found below.

Why have we created an Early Careers programme of work?

The landscape of early years pharmacist training is changing dramatically, most notably The NHS People Plan cited the transformation in early careers pharmacy education and training as being critical in the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.

The pandemic and the associated impact pharmacists have had on delivery care has accelerated the pace of the reform, which aims to shorten the time it takes for pharmacists to become prescribers by increasing the amount of experiential learning throughout the undergraduate degree and transforming the pre-registration year into foundation practice.


The reform is being led by the GPHC with HEE playing a key role in year 5 and defining how the transition years will be implemented through using learning from other professions and the Interim Foundation Pharmacist Programme (IFPP). The drivers and the context of the future of the reforms are summarised in two letters published this summer.

The joint letter from HEE and NHS E/I on 23rd July

The joint letter from the GPhC and the Chief Pharmaceutical Officers on the 28th July

To ensure the region successfully implements the changes required, HEE LaSE has developed the early careers programme. The programme brings together under one umbrella the Foundation Training Year (formally known as pre-registration) and the post-registration programmes.

The purpose of the Early Careers Programme

Implement Foundation Training Year (formally pre-registration training) for 2021 and work with stakeholders to inform the national transitional plan to deliver the new initial education and training standards and learning outcomes in the region.

Develop an understanding of how post registration training needs are changing throughout the transition, to ensure the early careers workforce is developing the knowledge, skills and attributes needed to provide high quality care and to support learners as they develop towards advanced practice.

Impact of changes.

Pharmacists will play a much greater role in providing clinical care to patients from their first day on the register. Training will produce adaptable pharmacist professionals who will be confident and capable of operating in multi-professional teams across Integrated Care Systems (ICS) and sector boundaries, to meet diverse and changing patient needs.

There is an increased focus on development of core skills needed for pharmacists to work across the system prior to registration, with consolidation throughout the early years of training, including:

Consultation Skills

Diagnostic Skills

Clinical assessment Skills

Multi-disciplinary team training skills

Independent prescribing (full implementation 2026)

The reforms also support the development of specialist pharmacist career paths.

Staying up to date.

Attend stakeholder engagement events, run by the HEE LaSE team or locally via our Early Careers Training Programme Directors.

Look out for “Early careers updates” from HEE LaSE team members at meetings and events.

Get in touch directly via our enquiry form

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Early Careers Updates and Events

The HEE LaSE team members will be running events to update and engage stakeholders on the work being undertaken.

There are 3 key areas that we aim to explore with stakeholders:

Orientation to the learning outcomes and requirements of the 2021/2022 Foundation Training Year

Exploring the journey to the implementation of the full Initial Education and Training Standards for Pharmacy

Understand the impact of changes on the post-registration training and requirements.

We aim to develop wider education networks at Integrate Care System Level to enable local collaboration and innovations in these areas and beyond, which will be facilitated by Early Careers Training Programme Directors.

Early Careers Training Programme Directors (EC TPDs)

HEE LaSE recognise that to ensure successful delivery of these changes by organisations, there is a need for additional HEE ‘on the ground’ support at individual ICS level and have created, in collaboration with NHS Partners, the Early Careers TPD roles to support this.

The key areas of work:

Support IET changes and early careers reforms by engaging with and assisting; EPDs, clinical supervisors, organisations and ICS workforce leads

Developing E&T networks and communities of practices across all pharmacy sectors facilitate opportunities for providers to engage with peers, share areas of innovation and work collaboratively

Engage with ICS Workforce workstream and Training hubs leads to support innovation in early careers pharmacist training to meet workforce needs and service requirements.

Act as a point of contact for the ICS to ensure early escalation of concerns, issues, or risks to HEE LaSE Team

You can find out who our TPDs are and what areas they are covering in our “Meet the team” section