Pharmacist Independent Prescribing

RPS has made three core recommendations to support the increased use of pharmacist independent prescribers (PIPs) over the next decade.

As medication regimes become more specialised and complex, the role of PIPs have become increasingly important in the delivery of high-quality clinical care. Greater use of PIPs within the multi-disciplinary team will expand patient access to care, improve capacity in the health care system and improve individual health outcomes.

What are we calling for?

1

What?

Use pharmacists as prescribers in new and existing NHS services

How?

Harnessing the skills of pharmacist independent prescribers will transform patient pathways and services to ease NHS pressures.

At times of high demand where workforce pressures can impact on access to patient care it is important to utilise the full range of skills and knowledge of health professionals. Pharmacists are the experts in medicines and their use. 

Using this unique skill pharmacist prescribers will contribute to improve patient flow and efficiencies across the health and social care system. 

Patients must be able to see the right health professional at the right time and in the right place, from specialist clinics run by pharmacist prescribers in secondary care through to prescribing for patients in their local community.

Expand and develop the role of pharmacy prescribing clinics to provide greater access to care closer to home.

Pharmacist independent prescribers are equipped to provide treatment and expertise for a range of clinical conditions, vaccination programmes and much more in the patient's local community.

The NHS must support innovation to enable people to benefit from care closer to home.

2

What?

Enable pharmacist prescribers to use their qualification effectively

How?

Give pharmacists access to appropriate information, systems and resources to prescribe safely in all settings.

This includes:

  • Read and write access and to be able to input into the electronic patient health record
  • The ability to request and view results of investigations
  • Recognised referral pathways
  • Access to a drug budget to facilitate effective NHS prescribing in the community
  • Pharmacies need the right skill mix and a sufficient number of staff to manage workload effectively.

Funded learning time for pharmacists must become the norm and embedded within workforce planning.

Pharmacists must have protected time within working days to learn new skills, develop and maintain prescribing competency or support with multi-professional team learning

Equity across all professions is now needed, ensuring protected and funded learning time for pharmacists embedded within workforce planning.

For example, full time salaried GPs employed under the model contract are entitled to a minimum of 208 hours (four hours per week on an annualised basis) of protected time for professional development a year.

3

What?

Train more pharmacists to be able to prescribe in more clinical areas

How?

The existing workforce must be supported to undertake training and qualify as pharmacist independent prescribers. 

Initial education reforms mean that newly qualified pharmacists will become prescribers at qualification from 2026. 

This will allow new and different service models to be commissioned. For this to be deliverable it is essential that the existing workforce is not left behind. 

Whilst not all pharmacists will need, or want, to become prescribers, the opportunity should be available to all.

Finding a designated prescribing practitioner should not be a barrier to training as a prescriber.

Finding a supervisor for pharmacists who are considering training as prescriber is paramount. 

A robust system must be in place to ensure all pharmacists who want to qualify as a prescriber can be supported by a DPP. 

Experienced pharmacist prescribers should be supported, and given time to train and develop the appropriate skills to take on the role of designated practitioner as part of their leadership role.

Prescribers must be supported to expand and change their scope of practice as they develop their careers.

In the 2019 GPhC survey two-thirds of prescribers had changed their scope of practice since their initial training and qualification. 

There is some uncertainty on how to achieve this. 

There is a need to support pharmacist independent prescribers with guidance of how to expand their current scope of practice and record ongoing competence post qualification.

Leading the way in prescribing

Our three policy leads from Wales, Scotland and England explain why it's important for the RPS to lead the way in prescribing.

Read our Recommendations on pharmacist independent prescribers.

The RPS prescribing page provides resources to help prescribers.

Share your practice

With real-world examples of current prescribing practice and service developments, we can lobby for you more effectively and share best practice amongst the profession.

Share your practice examples on [email protected]