Consultant Pharmacists



First introduced to the NHS in 2005, consultant pharmacists are leaders in the profession as well as senior clinical experts delivering care and driving change across the healthcare system. 

Traditionally, the pathway to becoming a consultant pharmacist was based on an individual’s personal motivation. However, with patient populations requiring more complex care delivered by multi-professional teams across community, primary and secondary care settings, a revised consultant pharmacist guidance was published enabling further development of consultant pharmacist posts across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland the pharmacist postgraduate career framework includes practice at a level equivalent to consultant which aligns with this revised publication.

The guidance outlines a parallel credentialing process to accredit both consultant pharmacist posts and entry-level consultant pharmacists; this dual credentialing process provides assurance to patients and other healthcare professionals that consultant pharmacists are practicing at the appropriate level to be taking on these highly-advanced roles and, secondly, that there is standardisation in the level of consultant pharmacist posts across all pharmacy sectors in the UK.

What is a Consultant Pharmacist?


The NHS guidance document defines a consultant pharmacist as a pharmacist who has developed and demonstrated high level expertise in their area of practice and across the four pillars, namely clinical practice, leadership, education and research. They have been credentialed as such and have been appointed to an approved consultant post.

Consultant pharmacists are clinical experts who work at a senior level, delivering care and driving change across the healthcare system. They've demonstrated the level of competence expected of a consultant pharmacist and their post has been reviewed and approved.  

Consultant pharmacists work across the four pillars:

  • Clinical practice
  • Leadership
  • Research
  • Education

They undertake activities that use their extensive, expert knowledge and skills to contribute to the health of individuals and the population.

Post approval

What does this mean?

The post approval service is required to:

  • Assure an appropriate level of practice and consistency across all specialities and geographies
  • Deliver posts that are at the appropriate level for a consultant pharmacist regardless of the employing organisation(s) or location
  • Maximise the potential of the individual consultant pharmacist to impact on patients across the health economy
  • Ensure posts are developed strategically in response to local need and facilitate health economy wide working

Directory of approved consultant pharmacist posts

Approved consultant pharmacist posts will be added to our directory of approved consultant pharmacist posts across England and Wales.

Find out more information about the post approval service.

Credentialing as a consultant-ready pharmacist

We have launched a brand new credentialing service

We have developed an individual credentialing process for advanced level pharmacists working in patient-focussed roles wishing to demonstrate that they have the knowledge, skills and behaviours to work at consultant-level.

The RPS will administer the national credentialing assessment for all individuals and maintain a record of credentialed individuals.

Individuals must be credentialed as consultant-ready to be eligible to fill consultant pharmacist posts.