The aim of the Postgraduate Diploma in General Pharmacy Practice (PG Dip GPP) is to provide Foundation training that equips registered pharmacists currently employed in NHS Hospital Trusts and private hospitals with the core knowledge, skills and capabilities required to provide safe and effective pharmaceutical care to their patients.
The programme is patient-focused and trainee-centred, and uses a blended learning approach that requires trainees to further develop their knowledge and skills in the workplace setting, under the guidance of a local educational supervisor.
This approach is underpinned by a culture and infrastructure that supports appropriate self-directed learning and provides assessment and feedback as a routine component of practice to support trainees to deliver optimal patient care.
Through developing novice pharmacists to identify their own learning needs and address them, the programme aims to develop a workforce with the ability to reflect on learning and engage with continuing professional development throughout their careers and support others to do so. Assessments not only measure the knowledge base of trainees but also their competence to undertake a range of core tasks as well as an ability to demonstrate critical thought and innovation.
This novel programme is a progressive approach to pharmacist development, and linked to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Foundation Pharmacy Framework, which supports individuals to achieve the core capabilities which underpin pharmacy practice and progression to advanced practice (supporting career progression).
The curriculum supports a broad approach to practice so that pharmacists are expected to manage issues that relate to the safe and effective provision of medicines regardless of context. This includes, within the first stage, providing information to patients and health care professionals, ensuring that the technical and legal aspects of medicines supply are met and providing clinical advice that is evidence led. In the second stage of foundation training pharmacists are required to demonstrate the acquisition of more complex problem-solving skills and experience relevant to their future careers.
How is the Postgraduate Diploma delivered?
Within London the Programme is provided by UCL School of Pharmacy and delivered in over 30 accredited NHS Training Centres (Hospitals) across the locality. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Foundation Curriculum is followed and applied through robust learning outcomes and workplace-based assessments that map to the FPF. Novice pharmacists practice and learn in the workplace, are supervised and assessed in the workplace; and attend learning sets and summative assessments at UCL.
Delivering Foundation Training
As the majority of the pharmacist-based learning is undertaken in the workplace, the programme builds on existing systems of mentoring and facilitation. A senior pharmacist (known as the Educational Programme Director) will be nominated by the Training Centre (Hospital) to take overall responsibility for coordinating the development of practitioners registered on the programme. Trainees will then be allocated a specific pharmacist (known as the educational supervisor), who will monitor their progress throughout the 3 years of the programme, signing off aspects of performance as the pharmacist moves through the different stages of foundation training.
As trainees rotate through local pharmacy services they are likely to be supervised for shorter periods by other senior pharmacists (known as practice supervisors), who will liaise with their educational supervisor to ensure continuity in the support offered, assessments undertaken and feedback provided.
UCL School of Pharmacy is responsible for the planning, provision and evaluation of the open access study events and formal (summative) assessments as well as providing academic support to trainees and supervisors. In addition, UCL is responsible for the quality assurance of all aspects of the programme (delivery and assessment) including the accreditation of Training Centres.
Length and mode
The Foundation programme is studied on a part-time basis, usually over three years, although the maximum registration period is five years. A range of experiences are gained in typical band 6 roles which link to the foundation curriculum, the Foundation Pharmacist Framework and is assessed both formatively and summatively.
Intake dates are September and March. Applications open approximately 2 months before.
Fees for 2020-21
- Foundation Stage One: £1080
- Foundation Stage Two 20 Credit (practitioners who have started FS2 prior to September 18 sitting 3 x 20 credit modules): £360 per module
- Foundation Stage Two 15 Credit (practitioners starting their first FS2 module in either October 18 or April 19 sitting 4 x 15 credit modules): £270 per module
- Foundation Stage Two CEPIP route: £1080
Programme Structure (120 credits)
The Postgraduate Diploma is organised as two distinct stages, embracing 4 discrete modules:
- Foundation Stage 1 (FS1). This is delivered within a single module (60 credits) entitled “Foundations of General Practice”, normally studied over an 18 month period. Completion of Module 1 can allow for an exit award of Postgraduate Certificate in General Pharmacy Practice.
- Foundation Stage 2 (FS2). This is delivered within 4 discrete modules (15 credits each), each module involving 6-months of study and requiring a series of integrated, complex tasks to be completed in the workplace.
The initial 12 month period of Foundation Stage 2 (covering 2 modules) offers the practitioner an opportunity to develop their critical appraisal and analytical skills to improve key aspects of the pharmaceutical service delivered locally. Targeting key patient and/or service issues they will focus on the appropriateness and quality of medicines use, critically appraise the situation and make recommendations on how future care should be improved. The final 6 months requires the trainee to critically review a service to identify how it could be improved and to draw on innovative techniques to achieve this. A Clinical and Professional Portfolio is completed alongside these over whole 18 month period.
FS2 begins to prepare trainees for the requirements of advanced practice and introduces aspects of leadership as outlined in the Advanced Pharmacy Framework. The experiences offered by Training Centres under the FS2 banner ensure that local service priorities are addressed and enhanced, often introducing trainees to specialist areas of care.
The learning outcomes associated with this programme are informed by the needs of patients, the service commitment required of foundation pharmacists as well as the content of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Foundation Pharmacy Framework.
The overall philosophy is driven by the competency agenda, and places a focus on patient safety. The assessment programme is designed to measure a pharmacist’s performance in a variety of settings in the workplace. The programme draws on a range of assessment methods which address knowledge, competence and performance, using the following approaches:
- MCQ examinations
- Objective Structured Clinical Exams (OSCEs)
- Portfolio of Evidence
- Record of In-service Training Assessment (RITA)
- Workplace-based assessments and peer assessment
- A range of more complex service-driven tasks that require the evaluation of care provided to individual patients, groups of patients or service specific problems. Trainees are required to present their findings to a panel as well as providing a written report.
In order to demonstrate application of knowledge and skills when providing patient care, practitioners will be required to compile a portfolio of evidence throughout the programme. The portfolio will be reviewed at regular intervals so that satisfactory performance will allow individuals to progress to the next stage of the programme.
This formal process will allow educational supervisors to gain an overview of the practitioner performance against the defined standards of care, as described by the Foundation Pharmacy Framework (FPF), which forms an integral part of the portfolio. In addition, the CPD requirements of the General Pharmaceutical Council will also form part of this portfolio, so avoiding duplication of effort.
Each practitioner’s overall mark for the Postgraduate Diploma is determined by summative assessments. Practitioners must achieve a minimum final mark of 50% in order to pass the Postgraduate Diploma.
The entry requirements for the PG Dip GPP are one of the following:
- Be a registered pharmacist with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)*
- Be a registered pharmacist within a European Union member state
- Be a registered pharmacist within a non-European Union member state, but eligible for registration with the GPhC.
In addition, practitioners must have a practice base (accredited Training Centre) from which to operate and have access to an educational supervisor and a range of Practice Supervisors.
*Due to the COVID situation, practitioners on the GPhC provisional register between August 2020 and December 2020 are welcome to apply
Training Centres currently accredited are:
- Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals NHS Trust
- Barts Health NHS Trust
- Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
- Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust
- Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust (FS2 only)
- Central & North West London NHS Foundation Trust
- Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Croydon University NHS Trust
- East and North Hertfordshire NHS Foundation Trust
- Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust
- Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
- Hillingdon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Imperial College Healthcare Trust
- King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Kingston Hospital NHS Trust
- Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust
- London Bridge Hospital (HCA International)
- London North West Healthcare NHS Trust
- Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust
- Oxleas Health Care NHS Trust
- Portland Hospital (HCA International)
- Princess Royal Bromley
- Queen Mary Sidcup
- Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust
- Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust
- South West London & St Georges NHS Trust
- St George's Healthcare NHS Trust
- University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- West London Mental Health Trust (FS2 only)
- West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust
- Whittington Hospital NHS Trust
How to apply
Practitioners apply by completing an online application form via UCL Select, which is only available during the application period. The application form will ask for detailed information about the practitioner, including their hospital employer, contact details of the Educational Programme Director at their trust and their GPhC number.
Applicants should ensure they do the following before completing an application:
• Discuss their application with their Educational Programme Director
• Read the UCL Diploma Specific Application Guidance notes as well as the general UCL Admissions guidance on completing an application on Select carefully
Applications for the April 2021 intake are now open. Please complete the online application form via UCL Select at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply (Click Accept and apply, search for School of Pharmacy and apply to the PG DIP General Pharmacy Practice) The deadline for applications is 12 noon Wednesday 31st March 2021.
Programme enquiries should be directed to the Programmes Administrators at firstname.lastname@example.org