GPhC consults on changes to independent prescribing requirements

The General Pharmaceutical Council has today launched an eight-week consultation on proposals that would make it easier and quicker for pharmacists to become independent prescribers.

If the plans are pushed through, pharmacists will no longer need to have two years’ experience in clinical practice before enrolling on an accredited prescribing course. Under the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s standards in comparison, entry to a prescribing course is not determined by the amount of time an individual has been on the register but by evidence of an individual's skills and experience. 

The GPhC also wants to remove the requirement for pharmacists to have relevant experience in a specific clinical or therapeutic area before enrolling on a prescribing course, although they must set out what clinical or therapeutic area they want to study as part of the course.

The consultation which includes an online survey ends on November 23.

Independent prescribing has been woven into the standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists which is being gradually implemented from this year. It is hoped pharmacists will be able to prescribe as soon as they join the register from the summer of 2026.

“Pharmacist independent prescribers are playing an increasingly important role in meeting the changing needs of patients and the health services that support them,” said GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin.

“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.”

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