The British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA) has called on pharmacy bodies for ‘urgent improvements’ to be made to the way in which exam and assessment results are released to pharmacy students.
This follows the death of Mared Foulkes, former BPSA representative and pharmacy student, who took her own life in July 2020 after receiving exam results that incorrectly informed her she had failed an exam and therefore could not progress to third year at pharmacy school.
An inquest into the death of Ms Foulkes was held in Caernarfon on 28 October.
In a statement, Bella Shah, the president of the BSSA, urged schools of pharmacy, the General Pharmaceutical Council and the Pharmacy Schools Council to make several ‘urgent’ improvements to the release of exam results.
She said results should be ‘clear and accurate’, and only be released at a time where support is readily available to the student and the university can be contacted for queries to be made and any mistakes to be rectified.
In cases where a student cannot progress to the next year of study, she suggested that communication should be made via ‘personal and appropriate means’.
Ms Shah also called for ‘more support and signposting available to students from schools, and to ensure students are heard.
‘Further, wellbeing and mental health should be incorporated into the curriculum. It is of the utmost importance that we ensure pharmacy students are supported in both their professional and personal lives, including throughout their education,’ she said.
In response to the statement, the GPhC expressed their ‘deepest sympathies’ to Ms Foulkes’ family and friends.
‘We will carefully consider the very important issues that this tragic case raises to ensure the pharmacy schools meet our standards for initial education and training, including providing support for student pharmacists,’ they said.
A spokesperson for Cardiff University told The Pharmacist that the university believed it had acted within regulations, but it fully accepted that lessons ‘can and should be learnt’.
‘The untimely loss of a family member in this way is devastating. Our thoughts and sympathies remain with the family and friends,’ they said.
‘Changes are already being considered and we will cooperate fully with the coroner’s verdict.’