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HEE to fund 3,000 independent prescribing places in 2023/24

Health Education England (HEE) has announced that it will fund pharmacist independent prescribing training for an additional year.

HEE today (February 23) announced “a further year of funding for independent prescribing courses to support pharmacists working across a number of settings”.

Eligible pharmacists will be able to apply for one of “almost 3,000 places” on independent prescribing courses at a variety of universities across England, it added.

Read more: 'The push for independent prescribing must not just be a tick box exercise’

Courses will be available between April 2023 and March 2024, with “several universities offering multiple dates for cohort intakes”, although start dates “will depend on the university provider”, HEE said.

Successful applicants to one of the approved universities “will be allocated a fully funded place directly by the university” and “do not need to apply to HEE for funding separately”, it added.


In order to meet eligibility criteria, HEE said that pharmacists “will need to demonstrate as a minimum”:

  • The support of an identified designated prescribing practitioner (DPP)

  • An appropriate practice-based learning environment in a prescribing setting that can offer appropriate clinical support

  • Evidence that they meet the course provider eligibility criteria (applicants will be subject to their chosen university’s enrolment processes)

  • Commitment to use the skill within their area of competence and expertise, for the delivery of NHS clinical services as they emerge

Read more: 'High' patient confidence in independent prescribers, study shows

“I am delighted to confirm an additional year of fully funded independent prescribing places for pharmacists for 2023/24”, HEE deputy chief operating officer Alan Ryan said. 

He added that “supporting the existing pharmacy workforce to train as independent prescribers is so important – so we have the workforce to develop and deliver new models of prescribing services in pharmacy”.


"Seize this opportunity"



This will also “continue to support pharmacists to skill-up in line with” reform of pharmacist education and training, Mr Ryan said.

“I encourage pharmacists from across sectors, including community pharmacy and locums, to seize this opportunity,” he added.

Deputy chief pharmaceutical officer at NHS England Dr Bruce Warner added: “From September 2026, all newly qualified pharmacists will be independent prescribers on the day of registration, and this increase in the places for existing pharmacists including locums makes this crucial opportunity more widely available across the whole network.”   


Read more: Wales: Pharmacies lose ‘up to’ 20% of prescribers to GP practices each year


In May, the General Pharmaceutical Council moved to scrap a rule that meant pharmacists needed two years of experience post-registration in order to enrol on an independent prescribing course.

And in the same month, England's chief pharmaceutical officer David Webb cited making independent prescribing part of pharmacy practice by 2026.

Independent prescribing training will form part of the curriculum for trainee pharmacists from 2025-2026.

Catch up with C+D's seventh Big Debate, which asked: “Is getting an independent prescribing qualification worth it?

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