Only 62% of pre-registration places in community pharmacy are filled thanks to the new application system

More than a third of community pharmacy pre-registration spots have not been filled – up to 50% in some midsize businesses – as part of a new national application system designed to improve the recruitment process.

All of the hospital pre-registration places that were due to start in August 2018 have been filled in England and Wales, according to an assessment of the new system which was introduced in 2017 to help prevent variations in recruitment.

The overall fill rate across different sectors was 75%, according to an analysis by Health Education England (HEE) – the organization responsible for the training and development of the NHS workforce.

Some 12% of eligible early bird applicants did not receive an offer. In total, 60% of the pre-registration places offered were accepted by pharmacy graduates, the HEE found.

In the new system, applicants submit a single application for a training position using the Oriel IT system. They are then offered their preferred place based on the results of their performance in an assessment center.

The HEE report said the system was “efficient”, “fair” and supported candidates who do well and exceed the necessary interview scores that keep them in the selection process.

The agency said it will now prioritize working with the community pharmacy sector to see how it can improve fill rates.

It intends to change the format of calculus and situational judgment assessment tests from a paper format to an online process in 2018, on the grounds that it will improve the candidate experience and make the system more efficient. .

He also announced a new feature of “improved preferences”. Starting in 2018, graduates will have more time to make changes to the pre-registration programs they wish to join – the current three-week window in August will now be extended until the end of October. New selection center sites are also planned for 2018.

HEE intends to further examine the engagement and “behavior” of graduates during the recruitment process.

The report said: “A better understanding of the factors of participation, preferential behaviors and subsequent decisions about the offerings of training places will support the identification of key influences and interventions for better results.”

Ash Soni, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said there were likely several factors causing fewer places in the community compared to hospital pharmacy.

“I have heard a lot of [pharmacy] students reflect on part of the national language, and [they have] not viewed the community as clinical in the same way as the hospital, and therefore given the undergraduate training, this will likely encourage them to be placed in the hospital, ”he said.

“The difficulty is that there will likely be a number of confusing issues here, so it’s hard to be sure of the reason (s), but we should be monitoring this in the future and doing further research and analysis.” on these reasons and then see how to fix it. them.”

In a statement, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), the organization that represents community pharmacy, said the system for recruiting pre-registration pharmacists must be “voluntary, flexible and fair.”

“The focus should be on what works for students, pharmacies and ultimately patients, not the convenience of administrators who may prefer a single model,” he said.

“There is clearly a need to think deeply about why the fill rate of the community pharmacy and certain subcategories of the pharmaceutical business was low in the first year.

“If the system cannot work the same for all pharmacies, it follows that other recruitment options should remain open, for reasons of fairness and practicality. “

According to the HEE report, it is mandatory for all hospitals with pre-registration places funded by the HEE to use the new system to fill vacant positions, but it is optional for community pharmacies that have pre-registration places funded by the HEE. NHS England.

In November 2017, a survey by the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association found that just over half of pharmacy students rated their experience with the Oriel system as “poor” or “very poor”.

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