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Independent prescribing

RPS conference attendees back idea of prescriber post-nominals

Nahim Khan, a pharmacy lecturer and member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said post-nominals would provide a “coherent message about pharmacist prescribing”.

A member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called for independent prescribers to be recognised with post-nominals.

RPS member Nahim Khan, senior lecturer at the University of Chester, raised the suggestion during the 2019 RPS Conference, held in London on 17 November 2019. He was speaking at #RPSYourSay, a debate session chaired by Sandra Gidley, president of the RPS.

Khan said that the wider pharmacy profession, other healthcare professionals and patients need “a coherent message about pharmacist prescribing”, given that pharmacist prescribing had increased by 55% in 2018/2019.

He noted that a survey of pharmacists, conducted in 2011, supported the idea of pharmacist prescriber post-nominals, and asked for views on appropriate post-nominals, saying that there needed to be a “renewed effort” to explore this.

Stephanie Bancroft, locum pharmacist and lead for RPS North West London, responded that these pharmacists currently have no additional post-nominals at all, unless they are members of the RPS. 

“I think we should work towards being noted as members of our profession, and if we have additional qualifications they can be added,” she said. “Doctors and nurses are recognised; why not pharmacists?”

Speaking during the session, Martin Astbury, vice-chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, said he agreed with Khan’s suggestion, and Suzanne Scott-Thomas, chair of the RPS Welsh Pharmacy Board, added that it is important to be clear on the purpose of such a post-nominal.

“Who are post-nominals for?” she asked. “Us, other healthcare professionals or patients?”

Jonathan Burton, chair of the RPS Scottish Pharmacy Board, said that “right now, I have no strong opinion” on the proposal: but added that “I do put [independent prescriber] after my name sometimes, if writing a note that will be read by a GP or other healthcare professional — as a courtesy to the colleague I am writing to”.

A vote on the proposal showed that a clear majority of session attendees were in support of Khan’s suggestion.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207354

Readers' comments (4)

  • Upon qualifying as an independent prescriber, the university bestowed 'IPresc' as a post-nominal. It was not made clear if it was connected to the RPS membership at the time. Was the use of this particular post-nominal discussed in the conference?

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  • Hi Rajit,
    Personally speaking, I think RPS membership is something out of the equation here. I think it is important to have strong leadership body for the profession, and I think the RPS is the right organisation to lead on this. I hope that non-members can also make their views known. However, being a member means having a voice in the RPS. You have to be in to win it.
    You make a good point. I wasn't bestowed with any post-nominals upon qualifying as an independent prescriber. Does that mean I get to use those? Or does that mean I make my own post nominals? Or do I have no postnominals at all, even though I have the same qualification from an accredited education institution? This is the issue.

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  • Just to be clear, personally, I don't think the prescriber status post-nominals should be linked to RPS membership, as there is obviously non-members out there that are prescribing pharmacists. What the post-nominals look like however, is a matter for the profession.

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  • "However, being a member means having a voice in the RPS. You have to be in to win it."

    Agreed. I'm sure it is a priority for the RPS to maintain and increase membership with a strong vision of professional leadership across all the pharmacy sectors. Should the RPS look into why prescribing pharmacists are not members?

    I think, and I'm happy to be corrected, that the post-nominal is set by the original authorising body; in this case the academic institution that the prescribing certificate was undertaken. If it not marked on that qualifying paperwork then it may be tricky for post-nominals to be bestowed.

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