Students training to become pharmacists at universities in Wales will spend extra time on clinical placement during their degrees.

The plans, developed by Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) and the schools of pharmacy at Cardiff and Swansea universities, will see pharmacy undergraduates given extra time of supervised placements in the community, GP practices and hospitals during their four-year programme.

Universities will be able to access funding - which will rise to over £2.7m a year by April 2025 - to support the extra educational supervision.

Funding will also be available across every health board in Wales to help meet the costs of students' travel and accommodation when on placements.

The Pharmacist has approached HEIW to ask how much extra time pharmacy students will have on placements.

This comes as the General Pharmaceutical Council Council (GPhC) are making major reforms to pharmacy education, including requiring all pharmacists to be able to independently prescribe from the point of registration from August 2026.

Andrew Evans, chief pharmaceutical officer, said: 'These changes will help us achieve our aspirations for the profession and make a real difference for patients.

'These changes will compliment NHS Wales’ profession-leading pharmacist foundation programme and make the undergraduate programmes offered by the schools of pharmacy at Cardiff and Swansea universities, even more attractive to potential students.'

Professor Pushpinder Mangat, executive medical director at HEIW, said: 'Increasing the number and quality of clinical placements will ensure we meet the reformed initial education and training standards for pharmacists and that we produce pharmacists with enhanced clinical skills and the ability to independently prescribe medicines after five years of training rather than the minimum of eight years it takes currently.'

In England, applications for almost 3,000 pharmacist independent prescribing training places in England are now open for those employed in the community, including locums, for autumn.