Preparation for independent prescribing should be a part of undergraduate pharmacy training, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said in a new policy document.
Pharmacist Independent Prescribers (PIPs), recommends that a “clear pathway for pharmacists to become qualified independent prescribers” is developed. Part of this should, the RPS said, include embedding the background knowledge needed for independent prescribing into the MPharm and preregistration year.
Improved patient care, especially in an ageing population where roughly a third of patients have a long-term condition, requires that more pharmacists are trained in independent prescribing, the policy states. The Society also recommends that resources, including funding and protected learning time, are deployed to ensure existing pharmacists can access independent prescriber training.
Embedding PIPs into local planning arrangements as part of the core model of care, would, the Society argues, ease pressure on acute and emergency care — including out-of-hours services. The policy also reiterates the Society’s demand for appropriate read/write access to patients’ health records.
The policy calls for non-medical practitioners, including PIPS, to be allowed to supervise PIPs in training: something that was proposed by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) in its recent consultation on education and training standards for pharmacist independent prescribers, which closed in May 2018.
The new RPS policy document was used to inform its response to the GPhC consultation, and supports the GPhC’s proposal for a switch from the current requirement of two years of clinical experience before PIP training can begin, to a non-time dependent, case-by-case application process where applicants must demonstrate sufficient experience.
The RPS recommends that pharmacists applying to train as PIPs first complete the RPS Foundation framework to assess their clinical competency: “Rather than focusing on a set amount of time before undertaking a prescribing course we believe the focus should be on identifying the right knowledge, skills, experience and level of competence that the individual can work towards during their Foundation training.”
Ash Soni, president of the RPS, welcomed the policy. “PIPs must become part of the multidisciplinary team to improve health outcomes and help overcome some of the challenges in today’s NHS,” he said.
“Opportunities for PIPs are increasing due to innovations in the way health services are shaped and delivered. I can only see this trend increasing as we move towards more integrated care.
“We want to see these recommendations implemented to drive quality improvements in the delivery of care. More PIPs would also increase capacity in the system and reduce demand on primary care and acute and emergency services.”