Poll: Are Fast Pharmacist/Paramedic-to-Doctor Courses a Bad Idea?

Nicky Broyd


February 04, 2020


The Times has reported pharmacists and paramedics could do 3 years extra training to become doctors to help solve staffing problems.

This, the paper said, could be possible after Brexit when EU rules requiring doctors to do a 5 or 6-year medical degree could be removed.

Corner Cutting

The British Medical Association (BMA) warned that patient safety must not be put at risk.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said in a statement: "Anyone who is providing care as a medical professional must have the right knowledge, skillset, and experience. Patients want to be seen by well-trained, highly skilled, and compassionate doctors who can provide them with the best possible care, and reducing training time won’t achieve this.

"We believe that there is no substitute for the current 5-year undergraduate or 4-year graduate entry medical curriculum for those wanting to become doctors. This training time is hugely important in developing confident and highly capable clinicians given the complex and life-changing decisions they have to make, often in highly pressurised situations.

"We need an increased medical workforce that’s properly trained and fully supported for the NHS to get back on its feet. Without that, we will simply be cutting corners, papering over the cracks, and ultimately jeopardising the quality and safety of patient care."

No Discussions

Royal Pharmaceutical Society President Sandra Gidley said in a statement: "Pharmacists are proud of what they do. Delivering the best care for patients means making the most of skills from across the health professions as part of a multidisciplinary team.

"They are playing an increasingly clinical role across the NHS and have the potential to do more with the right support. There is growing demand across the NHS for the expertise of pharmacists, and increasing recognition of their unique skills.

"Up to 6000 pharmacists will be needed to support Primary Care Networks, many of which are struggling to recruit into new roles quickly enough. Diverting staff from one profession into another could make this even more of a challenge.

"We have welcomed discussions on the NHS People Plan but proposals on retraining have not been part of the conversation to date."

It's reported the Government proposals are due to be officially announced sometime this week.


Whether you are a doctor, a pharmacist, paramedic, or other healthcare professional, what do you think?

Please take part in our reader poll.

Thank you for your time in taking our poll. We hope to present the results over the coming days.


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