Independent Prescribers Consultation Launched

Pharmacists training to become independent prescribers could be supervised by qualified pharmacist prescribers or other experienced prescribers.

The move is being considered by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) in a consultation entitled Education and Training Standards for Pharmacists. NPA members are being invited to have their say on the proposals and can submit their comments via the association’s policy team.

At present only doctors acting as designated medical practitioners (DMPs) are allowed to formally supervise trainees. However, to reflect the proposed changes a new title, designated prescribing practitioners, is being considered.

Helga Mangion, NPA policy manager, said the NPA is still considering the detail of the consultation but was keen to see more community pharmacists prescribing.

She said: “The NPA’s aspiration is that pharmacist independent prescribing should eventually become common place in community pharmacies, so that people can enjoy a more convenient service in respect of health maintenance and the management of long term conditions, as well as acute care. Moving much further on pharmacist independent prescribing would create a more convenient service for patients and make fuller use of the clinical skills of the pharmacist.”

In its consultation document the GPhC said it could remove barriers to increasing the number of pharmacist independent prescribers, relieving pressure on course providers and ultimately service providers.

Two other key changes around the independent prescribers course are also being considered. Requirements for applicants to have two years’ experience in the clinical area they wish to prescribe in could be replaced with a requirement to submit evidence of experience and skills. In addition, learning outcomes could be included in the revised standards which describe the knowledge and skills a trainee will have on successful completion of a course.

The NPA is always eager to hear the views of its members on policy matters. Please email or call Helga Mangion, NPA policy manager on 01727 858687. Comments on independent prescribers must be received by May 23 if they are to be considered in the NPA’s response to the GPhC consultation, which ends on June 6.