Guidance for pharmacist prescribers has been published by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) offering a structured approach for those wanting to change or expand their scope of prescribing practice.

The guidance was commissioned by the Welsh Government for the benefit of all pharmacist prescribers across the UK. It uses the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) cycle (reflect, plan, act, evaluate) to support prescribers to identify their developmental needs, ways in which these needs can be met, and offers guidance on how to document the process and outcome. Case studies across a range of professions and settings are provided to illustrate the process.

RPS already hosts and maintains the Competency Framework for all prescribers on behalf of all professional leadership bodies whose members can prescribe. Through stakeholder engagement, the RPS said it became evident that there was variability in how people expanded scope of practice, and that practitioners would benefit from a tool to support this.

The guidance was developed with a group including representatives from higher education institutions, professional bodies, regulatory bodies, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, NHS Education for Scotland, Health Education and Improvement Wales, as well as from hospital, community and GP practice.

RPS president Claire Anderson said the guidance recognised that, while many pharmacist prescribers will be working as generalists, ‘their prescribing training generally has a narrow speciality focus’.

Andrew Evans, chief pharmaceutical officer for Wales, who was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, added: ‘We recognise the need for a structured and supportive approach for prescribers wishing to develop their practice, the guidance also contributes to added assurance in the employment of suitably qualified and competent prescribers. This is vitally important at a time when service developments are demanding more from the non-medical prescriber workforce.

‘In Wales, the guidance will support the delivery of the new community pharmacy contractual framework, which includes a community pharmacy national independent prescribing service and I am equally keen to see it supporting service developments right across the UK.’

The Pharmacist explored whether the potential of pharmacist independent prescriber is being maximised, and whether more training places should be made available.

Last month, it was announced that nearly 200 additional places will be funded for pharmacists to undertake the practice certificate in independent prescribing in Scotland.