The European Council for Pharmacy Education Accreditation (ECPhA) has been launched to establish a pan-European system for accrediting lifelong learning and education in pharmacy and support better patient health outcomes.
Founded by the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) and European Society of Clinical Pharmacists (ESCP), the independent body aims to improve the quality of continuing education across pharmacy settings.
It will apply high-quality standards in the assessment of in-person, online and app-based continuous professional development and educational programmes that address the needs and current practice of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and the pharmacy staff practising across Europe.
ECPhA will also facilitate the attendance of national education events by participants from other countries by ensuring the transferability of continued education points between countries.
Its accreditation system is based on a robust and detailed procedure adapted from the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. This will present an additional layer to any existing national accreditation systems for pharmacy, rather than being a replacement, and the ECPhA will collaborate with national healthcare professional associations and accrediting bodies to achieve its aims.
ECPhA board member Dereck Stewart said: ‘The establishment of ECPhA is an important milestone in advancing the overall quality of professional development and educational provision of all pharmacy team members across Europe and beyond. The very highest of standards will be applied during ECPhA assessment processes thus will be a positive contribution to the advancement of practice of pharmacy in all settings.
‘I encourage all involved in development and education activities to strongly consider submitting an application. We look forward to positive discussions and collaborations with national accrediting bodies.’
According to the ECPhA, most pharmacy organisations in Europe ‘depend on the accreditation from non-European bodies with transnational credits, whose standards might not always meet European practice requirements‘.
It added: ‘A European body, such as ECPhA, will ensure that accreditation of European continued education events is aligned with European practice.‘
The ECPhA is working on its first accredited events, which will be available this autumn, and the accreditation is also open to other countries from outside Europe.