A blueprint 'for pharmacists to develop their potential' towards advanced pharmacy practice has been published by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS).  

The RPS said the launch of the Core Advanced Pharmacist Curriculum follows 'an intensive programme of work undertaken in collaboration with a wide range of UK stakeholders'. 

It focuses on five key areas - person-centred care and collaboration, professional practice, leadership and management, education and research. 

'The core advanced curriculum bridges the gap between the post-registration foundation curriculum and the consultant pharmacist curriculum,' RPS president Professor Claire Anderson explained. 'It provides a blueprint for pharmacists to develop their potential and a way of being recognised as an integral part of the multi-professional advanced workforce.' 

Advanced pharmacists have 'a pivotal role to play' in delivering future healthcare services, the RPS said, and 'patients with ever more complex healthcare and medicines needs need pharmacists with advanced level pharmaceutical expertise to autonomously deliver their care'. 

Pharmacists with advanced leadership, education and research capabilities are also 'essential to support, lead and advance the profession through transformative change', the RPS said, so it continues to meet evolving patient and service requirements. 

'The RPS Core Advanced Curriculum provides the blueprint to develop such individuals by articulating a UK entry-level standard to advanced pharmacist practice, relevant to all patient-focussed roles and aligned to multi-professional definitions of advanced practice,' the RPS explained. 

Dr Jane Brown, pharmacy dean at Health Education England (HEE), said: 'This approach will enable pharmacists from any sector to demonstrate holistic, advanced-level practice across the four pillars. 

'The curriculum supports development of the advanced pharmacist workforce and ensures parity with advanced clinicians from other professional groups. 

'The curriculum’s alignment with the NHS Multi-professional framework for advanced clinical practice in England will allow HEE and the RPS to jointly support pharmacists in navigating the routes to advanced practice credentialing.' 

From September 2022, pharmacists will be able to start compiling an electronic portfolio to demonstrate their learning and achievement of the curriculum outcomes, the RPS said, which will form the basis of the assessment carried out by an RPS competency committee. 

Successful completion of the curriculum’s assessment leads to the award of the RPS advanced pharmacist credential, which will mean the pharmacist has 'demonstrated the necessary clinical and non-clinical capabilities required to practise at an advanced level,' the RPS explained. 

She said 'it will enable pharmacists to provide quality assured care within an increasingly demanding and complex healthcare environment.' 

Margaret Allan, NHS Health Education and Improvement Wales dean, said 'the curriculum provides a clear trajectory for pharmacists from the post registration foundation curriculum into advanced practice. 

'The significant changes to the pharmacist initial education and training pathway means it is even more important that we have clearly defined post registration pathways from early years through to advanced and consultant practice.'