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GPhC consults on removing ‘barrier’ to independent prescriber training

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is consulting on allowing pharmacist independent prescribers to supervise other pharmacists training for the role.

At present, only doctors are permitted to supervise pharmacist independent prescribers during their training. But in a consultation, due to launch next week, the regulator sets out proposals to “modernise” this training, including allowing trainees to decide whether to instead be overseen by an “experienced pharmacist prescriber”.

“This change would remove a potential barrier to the expansion of the number of pharmacist independent prescribers and alleviate pressure on both course providers and, ultimately, service providers,” it said in its council papers.

Speaking exclusively to C+D last month, GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said he sees the move as part of the “natural evolution” of the pharmacist's role.

Mr Rudkin referred to “the pace at which a significant number of pharmacists in England are now involved in providing care through new models of employment [such as] in general practice and more recently in care homes”.

The changes appear to be happening “relatively quickly, compared to other historic changes [the sector] has seen in the past”.

The consultation reflects the GPhC’s aim of “making sure the regulation stays up to date”, he added.

“We’re at a point now where it's appropriate to enable pharmacists to supervise prescribing training.”

Amending experience requirements

As part of its consultation, the GPhC also proposed scrapping the requirement for applicants to the independent prescriber course to have “worked in a patient-facing area for two years”.

There is “no evidence to suggest that time alone spent in a particular area produces applicants of the right quality to train”, the GPhC explained.

Instead, applicants should face “an effective, but not burdensome” application process, in which “course providers verify an applicant’s experience to ensure that they are ready to train”.

You can read the full proposals of the consultation – which will run for three months – from p70 of the GPhC’s February council papers here.

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