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GPhC chair on proposals to scrap 2-years' experience rule for prescribing

There isn't a convincing argument for maintaining the “arbitrary” rule that a pharmacist needs two years of experience to start training to become an independent prescriber, the GPhC's outgoing chair Nigel Clarke has said.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) launched an eight-week consultation in September, due to conclude today (November 23), that sought views on proposals to remove requirements for registered pharmacists to have two years of clinical practice in order to enrol in an accredited independent prescribing course. 

There wasn’t a convincing argument for maintaining this “arbitrary” rule, Mr Clarke said of the reasoning behind the GPhC’s consultation.

The need for independent prescribers has grown “without a doubt”, he told C+D at the Pharmacy Show last month.

Under the proposed changes, registered pharmacists and newly qualified pharmacists joining the register “would be able to begin an independent prescriber course as soon as they have the relevant experience” instead of waiting two years, the GPhC wrote on its website.

As part of the consultation, the regulator has also asked whether pharmacists should only be able to prescribe within a specific area of practice, Mr Clarke told C+D.

The consultation will draw feedback from other healthcare professionals as well as pharmacists “so that it fits within the parameters of where healthcare is going to be delivered in the future”, he continued.

Find out what else Mr Clarke had to say by watching C+D's video below


RPS: Scrap two-year requirement


In light of the consultation’s conclusion today, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) called on the GPhC to scrap the requirement.

Entry to independent prescribing courses should be based on “whether pharmacists can evidence the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to undertake the training”, the RPS noted.

It also advised trainee pharmacists to “build the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed for prescribing” early on by “developing their prescribing competency from the beginning of post-registration foundation training”.

“We recognise there are challenges in the removal of the two-year limit”, RPS president Claire Anderson said, “but the prize is a new level of practice across the profession that will help transform care for patients”.

“Prescribing by newly registered pharmacists should look quite different to that done by more senior pharmacists and will increase in complexity in line with their experience and competence,” Professor Anderson added. 


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