The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has expressed concern over proposals that would remove the requirement for pharmacists to have two years’ experience before they can begin independent prescriber training.
In its response to a General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) consultation on education and training standards for pharmacist independent prescribers, the PDA said it had “taken issue” with what it said was “the removal of the two-year-experience safety net”.
The GPhC proposals suggest replacing the time requirement with an application process in which “an applicant’s experience is verified to ensure that they are ready to train”.
In its submission the PDA said it was not confident in the “rigour of the process” and suggested there was “significant risk that prospective candidates will be permitted to train, who are not ready to do so”.
The PDA also called for a pathway to independent prescribing for pharmacists that was similar to that taken by GPs.
“Though it would not need to be as rigorous, the PDA would like to see a similar development pathway which properly prepares pharmacists for a role in prescribing,” it said.
“This would start at undergraduate level and continue with appropriate post-graduate training, potentially involving a mandatory period of work in a hospital environment as part of the training.”
The National Pharmacy Association welcomed the GPhC independent prescribing training proposals in its response to the consultation, but its policy manager, Helga Mangion, said: “Once they are suitably trained, pharmacist independent prescribers must be able to actually use their prescribing role at the end of their training. A number of NPA members have highlighted the current lack of opportunities available in the community pharmacy sector in order to fully utilise this qualification.”
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society also submitted a response to the consultation, supporting the proposed switch from the two-year experience requirement to a competency-based approach, and also backing the proposal that pharmacists training to be independent prescribers could be supervised by experienced pharmacists and other prescribers as well as doctors.
The consultation closed on 6 June 2018 and the GPhC Council will consider the responses at a meeting during the second half of 2018.