The GPhC are holding an online consultation until Wednesday 6th June 2018 to review the standards for education and training for pharmacist independent prescribing (IP) courses.
The GPhC consultation seeks views on three key changes:
- Introducing revised learning outcomes:The revised standards include learning outcomes, which describe the knowledge, and skills a trainee will have achieved upon successful completion of the course.
- Revision of entry requirements: It proposes that the requirement for a course applicant to have worked in a clinical area for two years before training to prescribe in that area should be removed. To be replaced by an application process where the applicant would have to provide evidence of the necessary skills and experience required to begin training as a prescriber.
- Introduction of ‘designated prescribing practitioners’: At the moment, only doctors are allowed to formally supervise trainees as designated medical practitioners (DMPs). The consultation outlines plans for pharmacists to have the option of being formally supervised by experienced pharmacist prescribers or other experienced prescribers. To reflect this change, they are introducing the new title of the ‘designated prescribing practitioner’.
The Pharmacist Cooperative are fully supportive of the GPhC consultation , however have a number of concerns which would affect patient and pharmacist safety.
1. The removal of the two-year post-graduate time period is dangerous as prior to this period, pharmacists would not have adequate experience. As it currently stands pharmacists do not have the basic hands-on clinical examination techniques to become competent prescribers. The undergraduate pharmacy course is inadequate and to allow pharmacists to be able to prescribe on their first day after qualifying as a registered pharmacist would be reckless and dangerous. Medical students and nurses have extensive hand-on clinical assessment skills during their undergraduate course and at postgraduate level. The requirement of having two-years postgraduate experience should remain, and although it does not guarantee the quality of every pharmacist, it allows the pharmacist to gain real world experience not found in the classroom, which is a necessary requirement to gain insight into the reality of medicine prescribing of treating patients and not guidelines.
2. Having pharmacist prescribers as Designated Prescribing Practitioners (DPPs) as opposed to Doctors is dangerous. Medical students train for approximately 10 years to become a General Practitioner. It would be reckless to believe a pharmacist prescriber would gain the necessary experience during their training period to be comparable to doctors.
3.If pharmacists become DPPs, it will exponentially increase the number of pharmacist IPs on the register who will be inadequately trained, therefore increasing risks to patient safety as well as diluting prescribers salaries. The clinical supervision and support from doctors are key to being a competent and successful prescriber.
4. These proposals seem like convenience at best and blatant cost-cutting at worst. The recent GPhC meeting with the Higher Education Institutions suggested that if the standards are going to revised, then course fees may rise which is currently an average of £2000 per course.
Regardless if you are a prescriber or not, the Pharmacist Cooperative would encourage all pharmacists to complete the consultation shown below before the 6th June 2018.
If you do NOT agree with the proposed changes to the prescribing course requirements then don’t let everyone else do your talking for you! We all need to unite and stop these proposed changes. This would be a backward step in the future of our great profession. We should not let non-pharmacy professionals or academics not working at grassroots level dictate changes to our profession without considering what is happening at the grassroots level.