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Independent prescribing

More independent prescribers to be trained in Scottish community pharmacy

From September 2021, pharmacists in Scotland will be able to undergo independent prescriber training after completing the NHS Education for Scotland pharmacy foundation training programme.

Independent prescriber (IP) training will be given to all pharmacists who complete the NHS Education for Scotland pharmacy foundation training programme, the Scottish government has announced.

In a letter dated 11 August 2020, the Scottish government also said all community pharmacists with an IP qualification will be able to lead an extended version of the ‘NHS Pharmacy First Scotland’ service — ‘NHS Pharmacy First Plus’ — from September 2020.

The extended service allows for the management of patients with common clinical conditions that fall outside of the standard Pharmacy First specifications, with contractors receiving £2,000 per month for delivering the service.

Rose Marie Parr, chief pharmaceutical officer for Scotland, said in the letter that the fully funded early years training programme — which is expected to begin in September 2021 — would “establish a combined National Foundation Programme and Independent Prescriber (IP) Career Pathway”.

The aim is to increase the number of independent prescribers in Scotland’s community pharmacy network and establish the “core use of the IP qualification in the community setting”, she said.

The letter added that from September 2020, “a proportion of the £1.3m non-global sum will be repurposed towards funding educational infrastructure to support this joint Scottish Government and CPS [Community Pharmacy Scotland] strategy of increasing the number of independent prescriber workforce within the community pharmacy setting”.

It has been proposed that a UK-wide foundation programme could replace the preregistration year from September 2021, and that one of the aims of such a foundation programme would be to provide all newly qualified pharmacists with an independent prescribing qualification.

However, the proposal — from the General Pharmaceutical Council and the four UK chief pharmaceutical officers — said it would be subject to consultation and would “take account of each country’s circumstances”.

Adam Osprey, policy and development pharmacist at CPS, said that the “shared vision” of CPS and the Scottish government “is to have a prescribing pharmacist in every community pharmacy to better support the people of Scotland by providing enhanced pharmaceutical care.

“The announcement of a formal career pathway for community pharmacy — from initial education through foundation training to IP qualification — is a fundamental building block on which that care is built, and we are delighted to see these plans put in motion.

“The network’s investment in this programme and the NHS Pharmacy First Plus service demonstrates our commitment to supporting the NHS and the people of Scotland — and to making community pharmacy an even more attractive career choice than it already is.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2020.20208261

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