No pharmacist is applying for a fully funded place in the Genomic Medicine course

No pharmacist has yet applied for a funded position on Swansea University Postgraduate Course in Genomic Medicine in the three years they have been available, The Pharmaceutical Journal has learned.

Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) has allocated funds to cover the tuition fees of 39 course places for healthcare professionals working in the NHS since 2019, and 23 of those places have been filled.

Tuition fees for part-time MSc fee-paying students are £5,100 per annum from September 2022. The course is offered to part-time healthcare professionals with the classroom elements of the course delivered in blocks intensive teaching. .

Despite this, no applications have yet been received from pharmacists for a funded place on the course, with experts saying a lack of awareness and time commitment may be a factor.

According to a survey of 615 pharmacy professionals by The Pharmaceutical Journal published in April. The survey found that only 10% said they were “a lot” or “a lot” prepared for this change.

Claire Morgan, associate professor of biomedical sciences and program director for the postgraduate genomics course at Swansea University, said she was looking for ways to get pharmacists more interested in the course to help them to learn more about genomics.

She said: “Since its inception in April 2018, no pharmacists have applied for the course.

“I would love to see pharmacists apply for the course and this has been a personal effort on my part to raise awareness of the course and the role pharmacists will play in the age of genomics,” she added.

Morgan said a small survey of about 100 pharmacy professionals they conducted in early 2022 indicated a general lack of awareness of training opportunities.

Sophie Harding, head of pharmacogenomics at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, explained that a lack of study leave for pharmacists could be at the root of the problem.

“Undertaking genomics training will be key to developing pharmacists to become leaders in the implementation of pharmacogenomics. [But] there has been limited participation of pharmacists in postgraduate courses, such as the MSc in Genomic Medicine [at Swansea University]due to lack of educational leave allocation in many organizations.

“This is due to staff shortages, particularly during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, and increased work commitments.”

She added: “Lack of awareness of the impact of genomics on the role of the pharmacist has also played a role, along with other factors, such as an individual’s personal commitments, which will affect the ability to take on other independent tasks graduate studies. »

The HEIW spokesperson added that the Pharmacogenomics module, which is part of the MSc in Genomic Medicine, can be considered as a stand-alone module.

“Currently, there are no other pharmacogenomics training opportunities available for pharmacy staff in Wales,” they said. “However, HEIW is working with partners to identify workforce development needs in Wales and to develop further pharmacogenomics training opportunities which will be available to all healthcare professionals, including those who are trained in pharmacy.

Read more: Only one in ten pharmacy professionals trust pharmacogenomics

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