Prescribing Competency Framework

When prescribed and used effectively medicines have the potential to significantly improve the quality of lives and improve patient outcomes. However, the challenges associated with prescribing the right medicines and supporting patients to use them effectively should not be underestimated.

In 2012, a single prescribing competency framework was published by the National Prescribing Centre/National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to support all prescribers to prescribe effectively.

In 2015, the RPS started the process of updating the framework with the backing of NICE and in collaboration with all the prescribing professions UK wide. The updated single competency framework was published on our website in July 2016, for all regulators, professional bodies, prescribing professions.

The competency framework has been endorsed by professional bodies representing other prescribers. In future, we will continue to publish and maintain the updated competency framework in collaboration with the other prescribing professions.


NICE has accredited the process used by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society to produce professional standards, competency frameworks and guidance. Accreditation is valid for 5 years from 17 February 2017. 

More information on accreditation can be viewed at


04/08/2016 – Correction to Statement 10.4 of the Prescribing Competency Framework

Statement 10.4 has been corrected in the online version of the Framework and the Competency Framework Template.

Please contact our professional support service if you would like to discuss the correction further.

Statement of funding

The update to this framework has been wholly funded by the RPS who have not received any payment from a third party for its development. Further information on "How the RPS is funded" can be viewed in Professional standards, guidance and frameworks process development manual.

Consensus statement

The project steering group used a consensus process to agree the final prescribing framework. Consensus was achieved.


Chief Pharmaceutical Officers

Keith Ridge, Rose Marie Parr, Andrew Evans and Mark Timoney

“Used appropriately medicines have an incredible capacity to prevent illness, cure disease, and maintain and improve the quality and duration of people’s lives.  That is why prescribing a medicine remains the most common therapeutic intervention undertaken by health services in the UK.

“The knowledge, skills and behaviours which underpin good prescribing are common to all prescribers, and patients rightfully expect the same quality of care regardless of the professional background of the individual prescribing for them.  The single competency framework provides a means for all prescribers to become equipped to support patients to achieve the best outcomes from their medicines.

“Given its clear benefits, we are grateful to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society for agreeing to update and maintain the single competency framework for all prescribers, as we are to the many individuals and organisations who participated in the development of this and previous iterations.

“Since 2012, all prescribers regardless of profession have benefited from the single competency framework.  This update will ensure individuals can continue to benefit from access to resources which help them continually improve their practice and work more effectively.  

“We commend the updated framework and encourage prescribers, professional bodies, education providers and regulators to use it to support their role in delivering safe and effective care.”

British Dental Association

 "This new guide provides a useful resource for all prescribers, and we've welcomed the opportunity to support its development. Armed with this framework dentists can ensure  patients can get the best use from the right medicines, while rising to the challenge of antimicrobial stewardship."

- Russ Ladwa, Chair of the BDA's Health and Science committee

British Pharmacological Society

"Prescriptions are the most common interaction many of us have with the NHS, yet approximately 9% of prescriptions contain errors. Furthermore, 6.5% of all admissions to NHS hospitals are due to adverse drug reactions, many of which may be preventable through safe and effective prescribing. The British Pharmacological Society is therefore pleased to have contributed to the updated Competency Framework for all Prescribers, which drew upon clinical pharmacologists’ expertise on the teaching and assessment of prescribing competency. We are championing improved prescribing through the delivery of the Prescribing Safety Assessment – the UK’s first national prescribing assessment – and dedicated learning resources."
   - Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, Vice President – Clinical

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

“Medicines use and prescribing plays an important role in supporting effective physiotherapy programmes for patients. It is essential that physiotherapists deliver a reasonable and responsible level of practice in all areas of their work including prescribing. This multi-professional competency framework is a key document that highlights that prescribing is an important professional function, and that all professionals who prescribe are expected to deliver safe and effective prescribing interventions.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is pleased to have worked with a multidisciplinary group across the professions to update the framework which all physiotherapists should use from now when assessing their competency to prescribe.”

-Pip White, Professional Adviser, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

The College of Podiatry

“The College of Podiatry welcomes the publication of the new Competency Framework for all Prescribers. The updated version provides clear guidance on the competencies required. It is comprehensive, user friendly and applicable across the wide spectrum of podiatric practice, from podiatric surgery to diabetes foot care. The growing number of podiatrist independent prescribers working in a variety of fields of practice will find the framework indispensable and ensure the highest standards of prescribing practice are maintained, particularly as practice becomes more complex.”

- Matthew Fitzpatrick, Consultant Podiatrist, Chair, Medicines & Medical Devices Committee Provost, College of Podiatry

Royal College of Physicians

"The Royal College of Physicians sees rational therapeutics - the safe, effective, and cost-effective use of medicines - as a crucial part of medical practice. Prescribing is an important part of the therapeutic process, and the College is delighted that NICE's Prescribing Competency Framework has been updated by a multi-disciplinary working group coordinated by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society."

- Dr Bod Goddard, RCP Registrar

Society and College of Radiographers

“On behalf of the Society and College of Radiographers I congratulate the team at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and everyone involved in the project. For the existing radiographer supplementary prescribers and the new independent prescriber therapeutic radiographers the Competency Framework for all Prescribers provides invaluable guidance to ensure safe and effective practice. It will underpin the Outline Curriculum Frameworks for the Allied Health Professional Prescribers and provide consistency across the professions.”

- Christina Freeman, Professional Officer, The Society and College of Radiographers

As a patient representative I cannot but express admiration and gratitude for the incredible amount of work which has supported the publication of the new Competency Framework for All Prescribers. The partnership between prescriber and patient is a running thread though the Framework which should be considered as one of the key Patient Safety tools.”

- Fran Husson, Patient Representative












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