Prescribing career pathway for Scottish community pharmacists


The Chief Pharmaceutical Officier for Scotland Rose Marie Parr has written to stakeholders in Scotland to inform them of the intention to establish a combined National Foundation Programme and Independent Prescriber (IP) Career Pathway for community pharmacists.


The communication also describes the terms of a Pharmacist Independent Prescriber-led common clinical conditions service (NHS Pharmacy First Plus) for which funding will be available for contractors able to deliver it from September.


Over the course of 2020 and 2021, work will be undertaken to both plans a funding stream for contractors who support early years pharmacists in completing the NES Foundation programme and to increase the capacity of the programme for community pharmacists. The intention being that the first funded cohort register to start training in September.


Those successfully completing the Foundation course will then transition onto a fully-funded Independent Prescribing


The details of the service are unique to Scottish community pharmacy. The community pharmacy contractor will provide a Pharmacist Independent Prescriber (PIP)-led service for patients presenting in the community pharmacy with a common clinical condition which is beyond the scope of the standard NHS Pharmacy First Scotland service and would otherwise require onward referral to another healthcare.


The service will include the assessment and treatment of acute common clinical conditions which are within the IP providing the service’s competence and within the terms of their medical indemnity arrangements. Conditions may include but are not limited to:


  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Respiratory infections.
  • Ear, nose and throat.
  • Dermatological presentations.
  • Allergies.
  • Eye infections (in conjunction with local optometry services).


Patient eligibility will mirror the current eligibility criteria for NHS Pharmacy First Scotland Patients will self-refer to the pharmacy, or can be referred by other healthcare professionals or health and social care services.


The patient’s GP will be notified of the appointment and outcomes. The mechanism for doing this should be agreed locally, with full clinical portal access being the preferred option.


The community pharmacy contractor has a number of responsibilities as part of the service. The community pharmacy contractor will be responsible for ensuring the following:


  • That an employee Pharmacist Independent Prescriber (PIP) will be available to offer the service to patients presenting with acute conditions during locally determined service.
  • That the PIP is able to offer patients privacy and confidentiality in a suitable area of the community pharmacy.
  • The provision of any equipment which is necessary to carry out clinical examination of the patient.
  • That the PIP delivering the service is supported in undertaking any necessary additional training or development.
  • The provision of a user-friendly, person-centred, non-judgemental and confidential


The Pharmacist providing the service must be a qualified Independent Prescriber and be registered as such with the General Pharmaceutical Council.


If they have not already done so, the Pharmacist providing the service must complete the two-day NES clinical skills assessment course, the one-day consultation skills course and the study day on common clinical conditions (or alternative provisions as may be made available in the future g. online options or Teach and Treat models) within the first two years of this service being provided.


The Pharmacist providing the service must always act within their own competency and refer the patient to another appropriate local practitioner for issues they are unable to address in relation to common clinical conditions.


A monthly fee of £2,000 will be made to the contractor. for delivering the service. The service provider will complete a self-declaration form to indicate that a PIP is available to provide this service for a minimum of 25 hours per week, for a minimum of 45 weeks of a rolling year from the date the service starts.


You can read the full circular below.


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This circular is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.



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