RPS should push for credentialing

Credentialing and assessment represent a key part of RPS’s future as an organisation, and for our profession. Commonplace for many years within the medical royal colleges, other health professions are recognising the benefits to both the professional and the public by setting out standards for advanced- and consultant-level practice, and assessing against those standards.

The RPS has recently released its 2023 credentialing report, demonstrating a robust process and a slow but steady increase in applications, but the numbers remain small. The reasons for this are no doubt varied, but in large part I would argue that there is a current limit to the value of credentialing owing to a lack of formal recognition by the GPhC and most employers. While the NHS has rightly developed guidelines on the approval of consultant posts following their introduction nearly twenty years ago, there is still no statutory requirement to have credentialing in place, nor are there protected titles.

These processes create an opportunity for career frameworks in every sector of practice, something we have historically lacked. Perhaps more importantly they provide a degree of quality assurance to our patients and colleagues, solidifying our credibility as valued peers in the multi-disciplinary team rather than just being ‘the medicines police’ — a term I’m sure many of you, like me, will have heard.

The GPhC currently annotates prescribers on its register, following the necessary applications and checks — it is illegal for pharmacists to prescribe without this annotation. It is clearly technically feasible for annotations to exist for advanced and consultant level pharmacists who have been through the RPS credentialing process. By enacting this, the GPhC sends a powerful message to employers: credentialing is important. It also paves the way to improving revalidation, linking it more closely to level of practice; the days of completing all six entries in a day should be consigned to history where they belong. RPS should continue to push for these changes and work in partnership with our regulator. It is my view that this represents the first step in ensuring all higher-level job roles eventually require credentialing as a pre-requisite for employment and solidifying the notion that ‘advanced’ is more than just part of a job title.

Alisdair Jones

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, May 2024, Vol 312, No 7985;312(7985)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2024.1.313401

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