The Programme for Government commits the Department of Health to working with the education sectors, regulators, and professional bodies to improve the availability of health professionals and reform their training to support integrated care across the entire health service.
Higher education institutions (HEIs) are autonomous bodies as set out in legislation and as such the management of their academic affairs, including the courses offered by any HEI, are generally a matter for the institution in question. As such, any course to be offered allowing pharmacy technicians to qualify as pharmacists would be a matter for the institution in question, in collaboration with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland which is the statutory body responsible for the regulation of pharmacists in Ireland.
My officials are actively engaging with the Department of Health on determining the longer term skills needs of the healthcare services, and the role which the further and higher education sector can play in meeting those skills needs. I will ensure that there is continued engagement with all stakeholders to ensure that we deliver graduates with the skills necessary to support our healthcare system and support the strategic workforce planning by the health sector.