The first participants in a fully funded, supported e-portfolio pathway to recognise advanced pharmacist practice in England will get underway this month (March).

‘This new programme is an important step in creating a clear postgraduate career structure for pharmacists in England,’ said the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), which is delivering the pathway in collaboration with Health Education England’s (HEE) Centre for Advancing Practice and the Centre for Pharmacy Post Graduate Education (CPPE).

Funding will be provided from HEE’s Centre for Advancing Practice in 2023-24 for 300 pharmacists in England who are near to, or already practising at, an advanced level, to enable them to receive supervision and support in building their RPS Core Advanced e-Portfolio from CPPE’s pharmacy education supervisors.

They will work to evidence the outcomes set out in the RPS Core Advanced Pharmacist Curriculum, which is focused on delivering holistic care autonomously to people with complex needs.

They will also work to demonstrate the leadership and management, education and research capabilities of advanced practitioners, who are expected to be able to lead service change and improve outcomes for groups of patients.

‘This collaborative approach will, for the first time, provide a pharmacy-specific professional development pathway for advanced pharmacist practice that recognises the quality assurance of the advanced practice education, training and experience of pharmacists practising as advanced practitioners,’ the RPS said.

Successful completion of the pathway, assured through the RPS Core Advanced Pharmacist Curriculum assessment, will result in pharmacists being recognised by RPS as an advanced pharmacist, along with the awarding of HEE’s Centre for Advancing Practice’s ‘Advanced’ digital badge, demonstrating the quality assurance of their advanced practice preparation to patients, families, carers and other healthcare professionals.

‘This is a huge step forward for pharmacists to be able to demonstrate their advanced level capabilities across all four pillars of practice,’ said Dr Jane Brown, pharmacy dean at HEE.

‘It will provide assurance to patients and other members of the multi-professional team about pharmacists’ level of practice. It will also raise the profile of professional development pathways, which is becoming increasingly important given the major developments in the initial education and training of pharmacists.’

Joseph Oakley, associate director for education and development at RPS, said this collaboration ‘marks a milestone in recognising and assuring advanced pharmacist practice in England’, and that the ‘pathway strikes the perfect balance between allowing pharmacists to develop specific advanced pharmacist capabilities whilst ensuring alignment with other healthcare professions’.

He said: ‘It also provides pharmacists with the opportunity to evidence their advanced practice through work-based experiential learning and assessment with the support of a high-quality educational supervisor.’

Meanwhile, Dr Matthew Shaw, director of CPPE, said: ‘It has long been the ambition at CPPE that completion of our practice-based learning pathways would enable the individual to gain recognition of their achievement through their professional body.

‘Gaining this mark of assurance simultaneously through the HEE Centre for Advancing Practice and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society affords pharmacists a great opportunity.’

Find out more about the RPS Core Advanced Pharmacist Curriculum and the Centre’s ePortfolio (supported) Route.

The RPS has previously called on the Government to ensure all pharmacists have protected learning time to improve wellbeing and workforce retention.