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'Slender majority' backs change to prescriber training rules


'Slender majority' backs change to prescriber training rules

Pharmacists should not have to practise for two years after registration before they can train as independent prescribers, a “slender majority” of sector stakeholders has told the GPhC.

In a report on its two-month consultation last year on proposals to scrap the two-year rule, the regulator said that 55 per cent of 1,211 respondents agreed with the change, which is aimed at meeting “the demand for more pharmacist independent prescribers from health services and patients”.

Some of those in favour of the proposal expressed the opinion that pharmacists are sufficiently prepared to undertake prescribing training by virtue of their five-year education and training period and their expertise in medicines, while others noted that doctors or nurses are able to prescribe or undertake prescribing courses from their first day as a registered professional.

Some also felt that it would be maintaining the two-year rule would be unfair on those who are currently registered or are due to register before 2026, as all pharmacists qualifying from 2026 onwards will gain an independent prescribing qualification as part of their undergraduate training.

Among those who were opposed to the change, some argued that allowing pharmacists with less than two years’ experience could pose a patient safety risk, while others felt the current programme of education and training does not “adequately equip” pharmacists to become prescribers, said the GPhC.

The consultation also sought stakeholders’ views on a proposal to scrap the requirement for pharmacists to have relevant experience in a specific clinical area before enrolling on an independent prescribing course, and a proposal to keep the requirement for trainee prescribers to focus on a particular area during their course.

Seventy-two per cent agreed with the former, while 54 per cent agreed with the latter proposal.

The GPhC said it is now “working through the important points highlighted in the consultation” and plans to carry out more engagement “with our advisory group for the initial education and training standards for pharmacists who have been closely involved in the development of thinking on this issue”.

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