Regulations to allow pharmacists to prescribe independently came into effect in 2006. A pharmacist independent prescriber may prescribe autonomously for any condition within their clinical competence. This currently excludes three controlled drugs for the treatment of addiction.
Becoming an independent prescriber
In order to qualify as an independent prescriber, you must complete a GPhC-accredited course. On successful completion of the course, you will receive a practice certificate in independent prescribing, making you eligible to apply for annotation to the register.
An accredited independent prescribing course is typically run over a period of 6 months. The course is part-time and often delivered through a combination of face-to-face teaching sessions (often one day per week) and self-directed study.
Some universities offer a course with a larger distance learning option, however, all courses will involve a minimum of 26 days of teaching and learning activity. In addition to this, each pharmacist must successfully complete at least 12 days (90 hours) of learning in a practice environment whilst being supervised by a designated prescribing practitioner (DPP).
In January 2019 we published new standards for the education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers. Providers will be accredited to the new standards as part of their next scheduled re-accreditation event. All new providers will be accredited to these standards.
We have developed a framework to accompany the new set of standards.
This document is intended to support course providers as they design courses for the education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers. The framework also provides clarity for pharmacists and their designated prescribing practitioners (DPPs) around achieving learning outcomes within the standards.
Accredited independent prescribing courses
You can find a list of the universities that offer independent prescribing courses together with the latest accreditation reports.
For further information on the accreditation of independent prescribing courses please see the Approval process for education and training providers.
Independent prescribing entry requirements
Entry requirements for independent prescribing courses are set out in in our previous standards for the education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers. Our new standards also stipulate entry requirements (find here our new standards).
Course providers may stipulate additional entry requirements, so it is best to check the full entry requirements with your chosen place of study.
As set out on page 10 of the standards for the education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers, applicants must have at least two years ‘appropriate patient-orientated experience post registration, in a relevant UK practice setting, in order to enrol on a GPhC accredited independent prescribing programme’. We can confirm that relevant experience completed while provisionally registered can count towards the two year requirement.