The General Pharmaceutical Council is consulting on changes which will enable more pharmacists to begin their independent prescriber training
The 8-week consultation seeks views on the GPhC’s proposals to remove the requirements for registered pharmacists to have two years of clinical practice, and to have relevant experience in a specific clinical or therapeutic area, before they can enrol on an accredited independent prescribing course. Views are also being sought on retaining the requirement for course participants to identify an area of clinical or therapeutic practice as the basis of their learning and in which to develop their practice.
These changes would help meet the demand for more pharmacist independent prescribers from health services and patients. Current registered pharmacists and newly-qualified pharmacists joining the register over the next few years would be able to begin an independent prescriber course as soon as they have the relevant experience, rather than waiting for 2 years.
Course providers would still be required to assess the quality of the applicant’s previous experience, to make sure that pharmacists have the necessary skills and experience before starting the course.
At the same time the GPhC is continuing to work with pharmacy schools, the statutory education bodies in each country and employers to implement new standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists. The new standards include independent prescribing within the first five years of training. Once these standards are fully implemented, pharmacists joining the register from Summer 2026 will be independent prescribers at the point of registration.
GPhC Chief Executive Duncan Rudkin said:
“Pharmacist independent prescribers are playing an increasingly important role in meeting the changing needs of patients and the health services that support them.
“We want to enable currently registered and newly-qualified pharmacists joining the register over the next few years to be able to begin their independent prescriber course as soon as they have acquired the relevant experience, rather than having to wait two years.
“We are also proposing to remove the requirement to have experience in a particular area of clinical practice, to enable pharmacists who have general experience of prescribing to enrol. We are proposing to retain the requirement for course participants to identify an area of clinical or therapeutic practice to focus on during the course, but they would not be restricted to that area of practice upon qualification, which gives them more flexibility in their future prescribing roles.”
The consultation is open from 28 September until 23 November 2021 and seeks views about the impact of the proposals on patients, the public, pharmacy professionals and employers.