GPhC launches consultation on pharmacist independent prescribers

Consultation seeks views on education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is consulting until 6 June 2018 on standards for the initial education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers.

The consultation highlights that pharmacist independent prescribers are already playing a vital role in delivering high-quality care to people using the health services of Great Britain, and that their roles are continuing to broaden and develop.

In response to these changes, the GPhC is proposing to modernise the standards for training pharmacist independent prescribers (1) to make sure that courses are fit for purpose and that the learning outcomes in them are clearly focused on the current prescribing role.

The consultation seeks views on three key changes:

  • Revising the entry requirements for training: The consultation proposes that the current requirement for a course applicant to have worked in a clinical area for two years before training to prescribe in that area should be removed. It would be replaced by an effective application process in which the applicant would have to provide evidence that they have the experience and skills necessary to be ready to train.

  • Introducing learning outcomes for the standards: The revised standards include learning outcomes, which describe the knowledge and skills a trainee will have on successful completion of a course.

  • Introducing ‘designated prescribing practitioners’: At the moment, only doctors are allowed to formally supervise trainees as designated medical practitioners (DMPs). The consultation outlines plans for pharmacists training to become independent prescribers to have the option to be formally supervised by experienced pharmacist prescribers or other experienced prescribers. To reflect this change, we are introducing the new title for supervisors of ‘designated prescribing practitioners’.

These proposals have been informed by feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, including through a survey of pharmacist prescribers, pre-consultation meetings with course providers and through a discussion paper on the supervision of trainee pharmacist independent prescribers published last year

This discussion paper proposed that the right to supervise those training to be pharmacist independent prescribers would be extended to pharmacist prescribers and other experienced prescribers. Respondents agreed strongly with the proposals but emphasised the importance that anyone acting as a practice prescribing supervisor must be appropriately trained and experienced to act in that role and receive support when taking on this new role (2).  These requirements have been included in the proposed new standards.

Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC, said:

“The need for well-trained pharmacist independent prescribers is continuing to grow and the roles for pharmacist independent prescribers have changed significantly since the current standards for their education and training were developed. 

“This is why it is so important that we update the standards now. And the feedback we receive through this consultation will help us to develop final standards for education and training that will ensure that trainees have the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours they will need to successfully provide high-quality care to patients as prescribers.

“We welcome views from anyone with an interest in this area, but we are particularly interested to hear from current and trainee pharmacist independent prescribers, course providers and course commissioners, as well as patients and the public who may use services provided by a pharmacist independent prescriber.”

Respondents to the consultation will be asked to answer a range of questions, including whether the learning outcomes are appropriate, whether they agree with proposals to revise entry requirements, and what the impact of the proposals may be on a range of groups.

Visit to read the consultation document and respond to the consultation survey.