Changes to the eligibility requirements for training as a pharmacist independent prescriber (IP) are being proposed by the General Pharmaceutical Council. A consultation is expected in mid-October.
The GPhC is proposing that the two-year time requirement for entry to free-standing pharmacist independent prescribing should be removed, along with the requirement to have relevant experience in a specific clinical or therapeutic area.
The GPhC argues that there have been significant changes in pharmacy education and training in the last 18 months, including new education and training standards and the introduction of a foundation training year to replace pre-registration training.
“One issue which has come into sharper relief is the increasing importance of pharmacist IPs to support service delivery. This is one of the major changes in the new standards for pharmacists and, once implemented, will result in all trainees becoming independent prescribers at the point they register,” says the GPhC.
The proposed changes arise from this development and, says the regulator, support a wider aim to increase the number of IPs and reduce the time it takes to become one while maintaining the necessary assurance for patient safety.
Given the urgent need for additional pharmacist IPs, the GPhC does not think it is right to simply wait until the new training standards deliver them in 2025-26. “We believe that removing the two-year requirement in the current prescribing standards would help achieve the overall aim. This would apply to both currently-registered pharmacists and those who are now beginning their initial education and training,” says the GPhC.
Subject to the outcome of the consultation and Council approval, the proposals would come into effect in early 2022 and apply to:
The number of pharmacist IPs has increased year on year since it was allowed in 2006. Currently there are 11,698 IPs, accounting for just under 20 per cent of pharmacists registered with the GPhC.