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Free independent prescribing training offered to community pharmacists in Scotland

Under a scheme launched by NHS Education for Scotland and Community Pharmacy Scotland, 25 community pharmacists will begin the fully funded independent prescribing course at the University of Strathclyde in January 2019.

Pharmacist writing a prescription

Source: Press Association Images

The launch of the scheme comes after the Scottish government vowed to commit to expand the number of community pharmacists undertaking independent prescribing as part of a nine-point pharmacy strategy

Community pharmacists in Scotland will have their fees paid for an independent prescribing (IP) course and locum fees covered while they are training, under a scheme launched on 14 May 2018.

Funding for the course will also cover locum coverage for university attendance and training days, as part of a drive announced in 2017 to expand the number of community pharmacists with advanced skills.

The pharmacy directorate of NHS Education for Scotland (NES), an education and training body and a special health board within NHS Scotland, and Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS), which represents community pharmacy owners throughout Scotland, said the first cohort of 25 community pharmacists will begin their IP courses at the University of Strathclyde on 14 January 2019.

The deadline for applications is 2 October 2018, and places will be granted on a ‘first come first served’ basis.

Anne Watson, postgraduate pharmacy dean at NES, said: “Community pharmacists have an increasing role to play as part of the frontline healthcare team, often as a first port of call to manage common clinical conditions and as part of an integrated approach to helping people manage long-term conditions. This will help community pharmacists undertake this training to build on their professional expertise in becoming independent prescribers.”

Harry McQuillan, chief executive of CPS, said the new course “builds upon the highly successful Pharmacy First initiative and signals the intent to support the population of Scotland by utilising pharmacists’ clinical expertise at the very heart of the communities they serve”.

Rose Marie Parr, chief pharmaceutical officer for Scotland, said she was “pleased to support this educational initiative” and added that she hoped to see “increasing numbers of community pharmacists utilising their professional expertise to enhance pharmaceutical care in their communities”.

The launch of the scheme comes after a commitment made to “expand the number of community pharmacists undertaking IP and advanced clinical skills training” set out in ‘Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical care: A Strategy for Scotland’, the Scottish government’s nine-point plan to transform pharmaceutical services announced in August 2017.

The IP course includes education at the University of Strathclyde or Robert Gordon University, both in Glasgow, and attendance on an NES Clinical Assessment Skills course. Applications can be made online via NES Scotland.

Further details of the training can be obtained from Fiona Reid at or Matt Barclay at

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204850

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