GPhC say pharmacists should be able to independently prescribe upon registration


The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) Council has agreed on the overall direction of the review of the standards for initial education and training of pharmacists and the next steps to finalise and implement the standards.


At the November meeting, the Council reviewed the current draft of the standards.


Council members Rose Marie Parr and Arun Midha, who are jointly chairing the Advisory Group on the standards, gave an update on the feedback and key issues discussed at the group’s meeting earlier this month.  The Advisory Group includes representatives from a wide range of stakeholders, including universities, employers, student representatives and statutory education bodies.


Rose Marie and Arun also highlighted the areas where further drafting is taking place in response to the Advisory Group’s feedback.


The further work underway includes:


  • Reviewing some of the levels and headings in the learning outcomes to ensure these are right, with a particular focus on the progression from year four to five and then to post-registration.
  • Making sure the elements of the standards relating to independent prescribing are appropriately woven through the five years of education and training.
  • Setting out the respective roles and accountabilities of the different organisations in relation to the Foundation training year more clearly within the standards.


The GPhC is continuing to work closely with key stakeholders, including the Pharmacy Schools Council and the statutory national education bodies, to inform the final drafting. The Council noted the generous offers of assistance from stakeholders to help with this.


It was agreed at the meeting that the Council would consider the final draft of the standards at the December Council meeting, once this work has been completed.


Council members also agreed that the GPhC needs to work with the Advisory Group to develop a transition plan for how and when the standards would be implemented. There was clear support for the standards being implemented as part of an iterative process and that changes, including to support the aim that pharmacists can independently prescribe from the point of registration, should be implemented at the earliest possible opportunity.


Nigel Clarke, Chair of the GPhC, said:


“These new standards will transform the education and training of pharmacists, so they will be able to play a much greater role in providing clinical care to patients and the public from their first day on the register.


“There is real momentum and support behind the standards from our Council and from the Advisory Group. We are working with pace and ambition to finalise the standards and working closely with everyone involved to develop a practical and realistic transition plan to implement them.


“We are very grateful for the hugely collaborative and collegiate approach that stakeholders have taken in working with us to finalise the standards. There is a real willingness to work together to make this happen, whilst recognising that there are still challenges to overcome.


“There was a clear steer from our Council that the standards should be implemented in a way that enables improvements to happen as soon as possible to meet the current and future needs of patients and the public.  This includes considering the earliest possible time when newly-registered pharmacists would be able to prescribe, taking account of the knowledge and skills they will be developing and the necessary assurances for patient safety.”



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