Pharmacist independent prescriber

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.

Conversion programmes

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.

Learning outcomes and indicative content

For more information, see learning outcomes and indicative content for both programmes:

Pharmacist independent prescribing - learning outcomes and indicative content

Independent prescribing entry requirements

Details of the pre-requisites for entering a pharmacist independent prescribing programme.

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.

Consultation on standards for the education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers

We recently consulted on the standards for the education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers. Find out more

Independent prescribing entry requirements

The GPhC requires that pharmacists applying to undertake an independent prescribing programme must:

  • be a registered pharmacist with the GPhC or the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI)
  • have at least two years' appropriate patient-orientated experience in a UK hospital, community or primary care setting following their pre-registration year.

Those wishing to undertake the conversion programme must:

  • be a registered pharmacist with the GPhC or the PSNI with annotation as a supplementary prescriber
  • be able to provide evidence of prescribing experience which is no more than two years old
  • provide a statement of support from a medical practitioner that confirms their competence as a supplementary prescriber.

Applicants to both the full and conversion programmes must:

  • have identified an area of clinical practice in which to develop their prescribing skills and have up-to-date clinical, pharmacological and pharmaceutical knowledge relevant to their intended area of prescribing practice
  • demonstrate how they reflect on their own performance and take responsibility for their own CPD.

Additionally:

  • The provider must ensure that the designated medical practitioner (DMP), identified by the pharmacist, has training and experience appropriate to their role. This may be demonstrated by adherence to the Department of Health Guidance (2001). The DMP must have agreed to provide supervision, support and shadowing opportunities for the student, and be familiar with the GPhC's requirements and learning outcomes for the programme.

Course providers may stipulate additional entry requirements, so it is best to check the full entry requirements with your chosen place of study with (see Accredited independent prescribing programmes).