At present, only doctors can supervise pharmacist independent prescribers during their training. But the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) announced last Tuesday (December 11) it had agreed to allow “experienced, non-medical independent prescribers” to supervise those in training from as early as next year.
When the GPhC proposed the move in March, it said it would “remove a potential barrier to the expansion of the number of pharmacist independent prescribers”.
The GPhC’s most recent published figures show the number of independent prescribers was 6,019 at the end of August, up from 1,545 in 2010.
Two years’ experience requirement retained
The GPhC agreed to scrap its proposal to remove the requirement for applicants to the independent prescriber course to have worked in a patient-facing role for two years, following “mixed” consultation responses, it said.
In the consultation document, the GPhC had said there was “no evidence to suggest that time alone spent in a particular area produces applicants of the right quality to train”, and suggested that greater emphasis should be placed on the nature of applicants’ experience.
Explaining its decision to scrap the proposal to remove the need for patient-facing experience, the GPhC said that “the case for removing the time requirement had not been made with sufficient force”. Moving forward, “course providers should evaluate both the quality and quantity of an applicant’s experience”, it added.
Formal mentoring proposal scrapped
The regulator has also decided to scrap its proposal for independent prescriber trainees to have “formal mentoring”, it said.
The GPhC received a “high number of ‘disagree’ responses” to the proposal, mainly from the education and training sector. Some course providers saw the proposal as “increasing their obligations in respect of the quality [of] management and support” for trainees, including in mentoring, the GPhC said.
The changes will be implemented when the GPhC accredits training courses from next year, and “will be done on a phased basis…over the next few years”, it added. The final revised standards will be published next year.
RPS welcomes change
In a statement last week (December 14) the Royal Pharmaceutical Society welcomed the move, as it had “long championed the use of pharmacists as prescribing supervisors”.
“This will improve prescribing opportunities for the wider workforce, and also support [GPs] by distributing the supervision workload,” the RPS said.
The society is developing a set of performance guidelines for pharmacist independent prescribers who will be supervising trainees, it added.
View the draft standards in full.