What is the non medical prescribing course?
Non medical prescribing is a course that enables healthcare professionals who are not doctors and allied healthcare professionals to prescribe medications to patients, i.e., become independent prescribers. Therefore, the course is also called the independent prescribing course, independent prescribers course or V300 independent prescribing programme.
The course aims and learning outcomes are designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and effectively prescribe medication.
Which universities offer a General Pharmaceutical Council GpHC recognised non-medical prescribing course?
Several universities in the UK offer the General Pharmaceutical Council GpHC accredited non medical prescribing courses. These include:
- Anglia Ruskin Aston University
- Bangor University
- University of Bath
- University of Birmingham
- University of Bolton
- University of Bradford
- Buckinghamshire New University
- Cardiff University
- University of Central Lancashire
- University of Chester
- Coventry University
- University of Cumbria
- De Montfort University
- University of Derby
- University of East Anglia
- University of Exeter
- Glyndwr University
- University of Hertfordshire
- University of Huddersfield
- University of Hull
- Keele University
- King’s College London
- University of Leeds
- Liverpool John Moores University
- London South Bank University
- University of Manchester
- Medway School of Pharmacy
- Northern Ireland Centre for Pharmacy Learning and Development (NICPLD)
- Open University
- University of Portsmouth
- University of Plymouth
- Queen’s University, Belfast
- University of Reading
- Robert Gordon University
- University of Salford
- Sheffield Hallam University
- University of South Wales (formerly University of Glamorgan and University of Wales)
- University of Strathclyde
- University of Suffolk (formally University Campus Suffolk)
- University of Sunderland
- Swansea University
- University College London
- University of the West of England
- University of Wolverhampton
- University of Worcester
For an up-to-date list – please visit the General Pharmaceutical Council GpHC website link below:
What is the cost of a non-medical prescribing course?
The cost of a non medical prescribing course will vary depending on the university you are enrolled in. Therefore, checking with your chosen university for the most up-to-date information on fees is essential.
Fees can range from approximately £1500 – £3000.
What is the duration of a non-medical prescribing course?
The duration of a non medical prescribing course will also vary depending on the university that you are enrolled. Therefore, it is essential to check with your chosen university for the most up-to-date information on the course length.
Courses can range from 4 months – 6 months in duration.
What are the entry requirements for a non-medical prescribing course?
After carefully considering comments from a public consultation in 2021, the GPhC has approved modifications to entry requirements for accredited independent prescribing courses. The goal of the adjustments was to assist health services and individuals in meeting the growing need for more pharmacist-independent prescribers.
Pharmacists will no longer have to complete two years on the register before taking a course and only need previous experience in a particular clinical or therapeutic area.
Applicants must instead have relevant pharmacy experience and be able to identify, comprehend, and communicate the skills and characteristics required by a prescriber. According to the GPhC, having this expertise and awareness will serve as their prescribing practice while training.
As such, future registered pharmacists and new pharmacists who are currently learning will be able to start an independent prescriber course as soon as they have shown competence, rather than just finishing a set period.
New GpHC non medical prescribing course entry criteria
To fulfil the new criteria, the following must be observed:
- Course providers will be required to assess the quality of the applicant’s previous experience to make sure that pharmacists have the necessary skills and experience before starting the course.
- Applicants must identify an area of clinical or therapeutic practice on which to base their learning and have access to a designated prescribing practitioner (also referred to as a designated medical practitioner if the clinician is a doctor or dentist) for delivering the 90 hours of supervised practice.
- Pharmacy professionals must meet the learning outcomes specified in the accredited course before they can be annotated as a prescriber.
How to enrol on a non medical prescribing course?
There are several ways to enrol on a non medical prescribing course. These include online courses, distance learning courses and face-to-face courses.
Enrolment in a course will usually require you to have a certain amount of experience working in a healthcare setting and meeting the course’s academic requirements.
To demonstrate that you are a suitable candidate for the course, you must complete the non medical prescribing application form.
How to fill out the Non-medical prescribing university application form
Before you consider applying to university, you must ensure;
(1) you meet the General Pharmaceutical entry criteria;
(2) have access to a designated prescribing practitioner (DPP) or a designated medical practitioner (DMP).
If you are struggling to find a designated prescribing practitioner (DPP) or a designated medical practitioner (DMP), please contact us at MEDLRN; we would be more than happy to help.
What are the non-medical prescribing application form sections?
Most application forms are divided into the following sections; (1) personal, professional and academic qualifications; (2) personal statement; (3) suitability to apply for the course.
We will explore each section in depth below.
Your background & qualifications sections
This section is not too difficult.
However, some universities require a brief description of your current role, which is where you may slip up.
At MEDLRN, we recommend you focus on the patient-facing aspects of your role and how you engage as part of a multidisciplinary. For example, consider the following: (1) explain how you assist patients with their minor ailments, such as diagnosing and treating their conditions or referral to an appropriate clinician; and (2) mention the services you currently offer to patients, such as vaccinations, blood pressure testing, aesthetic treatments etc.
Remember, the university wants to establish more than just your general experience as a pharmacist.
Although it is recommended that you provide an overview of your current role (e.g. managing staff, responsible for the pharmacy, recruiting staff etc.) – do not forget to explain how you manage and diagnose your patients’ diseases. This is because the university expects that it will be used within a patient-facing role upon gaining your qualification.
Your Personal Statement
This section can vary depending on the university you apply to.
The following questions are commonly asked:
(1) why do you want to undertake the course?
Here mention your personal development and career progression but also how the role of the pharmacist is evolving and thus gaining the qualification is in line with the agenda of the NHS ;
(2) how do you plan to use your prescribing qualification?
Your response will vary depending on your place of work, e.g. within a community pharmacy; you may consider offering more advanced services like a minor illness clinic, aesthetics clinic, or prescribing for patients referred by the doctor. In contrast, in general practice, you could use your prescribing qualification to diagnose, manage and treat disease, thus relieving pressures on the GP.
Meeting the GPhC entry criteria.
The GPHC criteria to undertake the qualification have already been briefly mentioned above, but universities seem to require evidence on how you demonstrate clinical or therapeutic experience to develop your prescribing practice.
Before we discuss how to address the above requirement, you must understand the following; the independent prescribing course is not designed to teach you clinical skills. Moreover, it is designed for students with experience in assessing, diagnosing and treating patients.
To demonstrate that you have clinical or therapeutical experience, you could include the following as evidence ; (1) evidence of training in your defined scope of practice; (2) a diploma in pharmacy practice or equivalent within your scope; (3) evidence of training in history taking and physical examination skills; (4) attendance of continued education events linked to your scope; (5) submission of CPD or re-validation records linked to your intended scope; lastly (6) you may be required to attend an interview with a member of the admission team.
If you are still unsure at this point on how to demonstrate the above criteria, then try answering the following questions;
(1) What is your scope of practice?- Future articles will address this issue in depth. Nevertheless, to summarise, ensure your scope of practice is well defined.
For example, the following scope of practice would be too broad; treating hypertension.
Instead, the following would be more appropriate; hypertension stages 1 & 2 in 30-60 years old with no signs of end-organ damage.
(2) What experience do you have in your intended scope of practice?- taking the example of hypertension- you could mention the following; undertaking blood pressure checks, assistance with treatment choices and recommendations to the doctor and offering health and lifestyle advice to patients.
This section is relatively straightforward. However, it may not apply to all applicants- please check with the university.
Here your place of work – usually the line manager- would need to; (1) provide a written reference in support of your application- the exact wording to be used is usually provided by the application and (2) verify your suitability to undertake the course- again this is a deceleration.
Once you find a course you would like to enrol on; you must complete a learning contract. This document will outline the expectations of the student, designated prescribing practitioner and the university offering the course.
Non medical prescribing learning contract
Examples of learning contract for non medical prescribing are provided below. However, first – let us define what a learning contract is.
The learning contract is an agreement or action plan between the student, helps to identify your learning needs, existing skills and competencies and gaps in knowledge and create an action plan to meet these learning needs.
Examples of learning contract for non medical prescribing
Non medical prescribing learning contract examples are provided below:
Identify learning needs
To be able to assess and consult with patients effectively by:
- Developing effective communication skills
- Conducting a relevant physical assessment/ examination of those conditions for which I am competent to prescribe, e.g. hypertension
- Developing practical decision-making skills
- Developing knowledge and skills in order to make a prescribing decision, e.g. prescribe, not to prescribe, non-drug treatment or a referral for treatment
- Gaining knowledge on how to assess patients’ medication needs while taking into account their wishes, ethnicity, values etc
- Undertake a thorough medical history which would include a complete medication history, current medications including over-the-counter medicines, alternative and complementary health therapies
- Understand and apply relevant legislation to the practice of pharmacist prescribing
- Critically appraise, and use sources of information and advice to support my prescribing practice.
- Understand the influences that can affect my prescribing practice
- Understand and apply existing and new knowledge of pharmacology in my prescribing practice area of expertise
- Prescribe safely, appropriately and cost-effectively
- Practice within the Royal Pharmaceutical Society competency framework of prescribers
- Develop a clinical management plan within legislative requirements
How will you achieve this, i.e., what is your action plan?
Below is the action plan I intend to implement:
- Attend university study sessions
- Undertake self-study using the internet, reference books and journals etc.
- Shadow a designated medical practitioner (DMP) or a designated prescribing practitioner (DPP) for 90 hours of supervised practice
- Demonstrate my prescribing competencies across the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) competency framework for all prescribers
- Allow DMP to observe my practice and provide evidence that I meet the competency framework for all prescribers.
- Observe other general practitioners and other appropriate health care professionals, e.g. nurses, pharmacists etc
- Observation of OSCEs
- Regularly ask questions or seek advice from my practice supervisor, academic assessor and/or practice assessor.
How will you demonstrate your learning in your portfolio?
Complete all parts of the Non medical prescribing practice document and map myself across the Royal Pharmaceutical Society competency framework for all prescribers.
Royal Pharmaceutical Society competency framework for all prescribers can be found in the link below:
RPS Competency framework link: rpharms.com/resources/frameworks/prescribers-competency-framework
Student signature ………………………………………Date………………….
DMP signature ……..……………………………………Date………………….