RPS to lead update to national prescribing framework

Pharmacists are to receive support tools and guidance as part of a planned update to the national prescribing framework.

he Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) will lead an update of the national competency framework for all prescribers this year and publish accompanying guidance and support tools for pharmacists

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) will lead an update of the national competency framework for all prescribers this year and publish accompanying guidance and support tools for pharmacists.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Health Education England (HEE) have requested that the RPS manages the update of the single prescribing competency framework on behalf of all prescribing professions, including pharmacists, doctors and dentists.

The current framework defines a common set of competencies that underpin all prescribing practice. The RPS says the update will reflect the current evidence base, changes to the structure of health and social care organisations, the latest professional requirements and user needs.

The first single competency framework applying to all prescribing professions was published in 2012 by the National Prescribing Centre (NPC), which has since merged into NICE.

An update was due to be published in May 2014. NICE instead decided to incorporate the framework’s principles into its 2015 medicines optimisation guideline, but agreed there was a need to maintain and update the framework as it was still widely used. NICE has therefore passed the framework update on to HEE, which will sponsor the work, and the RPS, which will manage the update process in collaboration with other professional bodies.

Catherine Duggan, RPS director of professional development and support, says it is important to maintain common standards for prescribing across professions. “The framework is still used; some organisations require its completion as part of a prescriber’s ongoing competence assessment and the Medical Schools Council use it as part of their prescribing skills assessment programme.

“Furthermore, there is a risk that individual professions will develop their own frameworks and erode the principle of a set of competences common to all prescribing. There is therefore a need to update the framework for all professions as well as ensure this is applicable GB-wide.”

The RPS also plans to develop professional guidance and support tools for pharmacist prescribers across Great Britain.

The updated framework will be published in early 2016, and will apply across Great Britain.

Prior to 2012, the NPC published profession-specific prescribing frameworks, but a single framework for all professions was developed in recognition of the fact that patients should expect the same quality of care irrespective of the prescriber’s profession.

The 2012 single framework was designed to support the continuing professional development of prescribers and help them identify areas for improvement, as well as inform postgraduate curricula and staff development.

  • This article was amended on 8 May 2015 to clarify that the updated framework will apply across Great Britain
Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 2 May 2015, Vol 294, No 7860;294(7860):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20068405

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