Pharmacy graduates’ careers on hold

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…as internship programme suffers multiple delays

Every year the University of Guyana (UG) churns out thousands of graduates who successfully complete programmes in various fields which increase their prospects of furthering their careers.

However, several students who graduated from the pharmacy programme at the premier tertiary educational institution claim that their lives are at a virtual standstill.
INews’ sister media house, the Guyana Times newspaper, was recently informed that the 2016 class of prospective pharmacists has been waiting for some months now to commence their internship programme at the Georgetown Public Hospital. This programme is necessary for the students to obtain their licences to practise their craft.
It is understood that the said programme should have commenced in early January. According to information received, the Pharmacy Council was unprepared to facilitate the process. As such, the students were reportedly told to pay the registration fee before February 27 and submit the requisite job application information to the Hospital.
This Guyana Times was informed that the internship was intended to start at a delayed date of March 6, but was yet to commence.
“The Pharmacy Council [has] not yet issued a formal letter or email to the registered pharmacy interns stating the date, time and place as to when the internship will start,” a graduate student [name withheld] said.
According to the Pharmacy Practitioners Act of 2003, under the Part VI section titled “Pharmacy Interns”, University of Guyana graduates who have completed the Bachelor’s of Science Degree (Pharmacy) must complete an internship programme not less than six months, before obtaining a licence to practice as a professional Pharmacist. The Council has the mandate to approve an appropriate institution at which the students can undertake the six-month programme.
Other functions of the Council are to establish, maintain, and develop standards for the practice of pharmacy; and to publish, distribute or disseminate in any manner as the Council thinks fit, literature and information relevant to the pharmacy professions.
It is being alleged that the students are being “pushed around” by the Council: “We ask why since the 2003 Act, absolutely nothing has been put in place? Peoples’ graduate lives, livelihood and careers have been messed up!”
The students are, hence, calling on Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence to intervene in order for them to earn a living. On Monday, attempts were made by this media house to get a response from Minister Lawrence, but these were unsuccessful as her mobile was switched off.
Nevertheless, the students have requested to be financially compensated for the “unnecessary delay”.
“We have spent four years of our lives studying hard to be pharmacists, because we have a passion for healthcare provision. The Pharmacy Council, by their unconscionable delay, has prevented better health provision being provided to those patients in need of health care,” the Guyana Times was told.

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