Pharmacists wishing to train as independent prescribers will no longer have to wait two years after registration, under the new rules established by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).
Currently, pharmacists who want to start an independent prescribing (IP) course must have been enrolled in the GPhC registry for at least two years and must have previous experience in a specific clinical or therapeutic area.
But following a consultation on the removal of the two-year requirement, which took place between September 2021 and November 2021, the regulator agreed that registered pharmacists can start IP training at any time, as long as they have a relevant experience in a pharmaceutical setting and are able to recognize, understand and articulate the skills and attributes required by a prescriber.
The experience and readiness of a pharmacist will be evaluated by the IP course provider.
Responses to the consultation showed broad support for the removal of the two-year requirement, with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society stating that access to IP training courses “should be based on pharmacists being able to demonstrate skills, knowledge and experience needed to undertake training rather than the period someone had been on the register ”.
In a statement published May 12, 2022, the GPhC said the change would help meet the demand for more prescribing pharmacists independent of health services and patients. But he warned that there are “challenges related to the limited number of designated prescribers available to supervise pharmacists undertaking the independent prescribing course.”
The regulator is working with stakeholders, including statutory education bodies across Britain, to “make sure there is adequate oversight capacity,” he added.
Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, said the regulator is “clear that proper experience is needed before people can embark on a path to becoming an independent prescriber.”
“We know that some individuals and organizations that responded to the consultation were concerned that the removal of the two-year requirement could mean that people started independent prescribing courses before they had the necessary experience and this could impact patient safety.” he has declared.
“We believe that the most effective assurance for patient safety comes from the requirement for pharmacists to have acquired relevant experience in a pharmaceutical environment and their ability to recognize, understand and articulate the skills and attributes required by a prescriber before that they can get a place on an independent prescriber course “.
The GPhC will contact IP course providers to inform them when the changes take effect.