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 programme. On successful completion of the programme, you will receive a practice certificate in independent prescribing, making you eligible to apply for annotation on the register.
An accredited independent prescribing programme is typically run over a period of 6 months. The programme 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 programme with a larger distance learning option, however, all programmes 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 of learning in a practice environment whilst being mentored by a medical practitioner.
Several universities now offer GPhC-accredited conversion programmes to allow supplementary prescribers to become qualified independent prescribers. The conversion course consists of at least two days' teaching and learning activity and two days' learning in practice.
Standards for the education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers
For more information, see the Standards for the education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers, which include entry requirements to independent prescribing courses.
Accredited independent prescribing programmes
You can find a list of the universities that offer independent prescribing programmes together with the latest accreditation reports.
For further information on the accreditation of independent prescribing programmes please see Approval process for education and training providers.
Independent prescribing entry requirements
Entry requirements for independent prescribing courses are set out in in the Standards for the education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers.
Course providers may stipulate additional entry requirements, so it is best to check the full entry requirements with your chosen place of study (see Accredited independent prescribing programmes).