More pharmacy students may be graduating than ever but in areas such as Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire, there remain considerable difficulties in recruiting suitably qualified pharmacists ("Pharmacy recruitment may be unhealthy in high doses", News, 25 October).
To address this lack of provision, the University of Lincoln, with the support of the Lincolnshire Co-operative, local pharmacists and regional retailers, has decided to establish a pharmacy school and to seek accreditation from the General Pharmaceutical Council. The local pharmacy community has promised to provide a significant number of training and work experience placements for undergraduates, in the expectation that those who train locally will remain in the region.
If pharmacy numbers were capped, this would serve only to exacerbate the situation in Lincolnshire, where the demographic distribution and dispersed nature of a predominantly rural population create particular issues for health provision.
Older people represent a growing part of Lincolnshire's population. Twenty per cent are over 65 and there will be an additional 73,000 older people in the county by 2020 compared with 2006 figures. This demographic shift will increase the demands on healthcare services, with the people requiring more help to manage long-term conditions and the medicines they will need.
The School of Pharmacy is not a short-term fix for the reasons suggested in the article but a long-term project with the local community to develop pharmaceutical services through teaching, research and postgraduate education.
Scott Davidson, Deputy vice-chancellor, University of Lincoln