The University of Leicester has introduced a new Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree programme in a bid to tackle the UK’s pharmacist shortage.

It has been provisionally accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), and is open to applications for autumn 2024 entry, subject to final approval.

The course will offer small group teaching alongside clinical placements in community pharmacies, hospitals and GP surgeries across the Midlands.

Students may also complete a research project or overseas internship.

Professor David Wright, head of the School of Healthcare at the University of Leicester, said: ‘With a rise in people accessing the ever-growing range of pharmacy services and the projected number of new job openings in the profession, it’s clear to see the UK is in dire need of newly qualified pharmacists.

‘Given the need for more pharmacists who can take responsibility for aspects of patient care, including the prescribing of medicines, we have worked quickly and closely with patients, carers and employers to design a new and innovative MPharm programme at Leicester.’

He added: ‘It will be led by pharmacists, delivered by pharmacists for pharmacists – and therefore students will be surrounded by professional role models who will not only deliver knowledge and know-how but also guide them through to becoming safe and caring healthcare professionals.’

This follows the announcement of a new course in the South West of England, a joint effort between the universities of Bath and Plymouth.

And it comes amid concerns about workforce shortages within the profession, with pharmacists listed on the UK Government’s skilled worker shortage list.