Hospital pharmacy specialisation

Hospital pharmacists work in an environment in which the most acute need patients receive treatment, often with the riskiest, most expensive, personally tailored and novel medications.

In order to practice safely and with independent competence, hospital pharmacists require a set of specific competencies that go above and beyond the basic education of 5 years for pharmacists described in the European Directive on Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications. These needs are evidenced and supported by the 2011 European Commission-sponsored Pharmine project, the 2008 FIP Global statements on hospital pharmacyand 2014 European Statements of Hospital Pharmacy.

Areas of additional education need in respect to hospital include:

  • intensive care treatment;
  • rare diseases;
  • emergency treatment;
  • practice interface management;
  • clinical development and research; and,
  • specialist practice in areas such as oncology, radiopharmacy, advanced therapies and paediatrics.

For this reason most European countries have in place some form of post graduate qualification to raise the skills and competences of pharmacists to that required in hospital practice. Indeed in some countries, possession of such qualification can be a requirement of practice. 

EAHP supports the raising of standards in hospital pharmacist knowledge and qualification that comes with a hospital pharmacy qualification and see it as an essential element of being able to continue to practice safely in an environment of high innovation and risk. 

A common training framework 

To achieve this goal, EAHP and its 35 national membership platforms, are leading a project to develop a common training framework for hospital pharmacy in Europe.

A common training framework for hospital pharmacy will represent an important international agreement on the competencies, knowledge, skills and attitudes required by the profession to deliver on the 44 European Statements of Hospital Pharmacy.

Thereafter, it is intended that the common training framework will be initially used as a flexible tool for hospital pharmacy development across Europe, fully reflecting national and regional realities. This includes being:

  • an inspiration for the development of competency-based education and training programmes for hospital pharmacy, especially in those countries where formal structures of this kind may be under consideration.
  • an opportunity for cross-border cooperation in the provision of hospital pharmacy education and training.
  • a European benchmark to which existing national programmes of hospital pharmacy education and training can be compared.
  • a reference tool for those with responsibility for the provision of workplace based systems of training and development.

In the longer term, it is hoped that ongoing and enhanced agreement between countries on the competencies required for practice of hospital pharmacy may present new opportunities for labour mobility.

A range of further information about the common training framework project is available at

EAHP's policy activity in this area is also supported by a position paper of its membership agreed at its General Assembly in 2011. More information here.


Last update: 6 February 2017