Health Education England (HEE) will fund designated prescribers (DPPs) as part of a pilot to train pharmacist-independent prescribers (IPs) in the south west of England, it has said.
A letter seen by The pharmaceutical magazineSent to the lead pharmacists of the integrative NHS pharmacy and drug optimization programme, says the pilot to use ‘teach and treat clinics’ aims to “test new forms of support and professional development opportunities for both current prescribing pharmacists and those in training “.
The letter, dated August 30, 2022, called for expressions of interest from integrated care systems (ICS) in the South West of England to host a clinic “within any organization with a prescribing mandate and an appropriate clinical setting, including NHS trusts and foundation trusts, community pharmacies, primary care networks and GP practices”.
Independent prescribing interns participating in the pilot will be supported by a lead teach and treat pharmacist who will act as their DPP, the letter said.
It added that HEE South has agreed regional funding of £56,000 for each DPP operating as part of the pilot in 2022/2023.
In their expression of interest, ICSs were required to commit to continuing funding for an additional 12 months.
The Lead Pharmacist must have three years of IP field experience after registration, a therapeutic area of expertise “with a large number of patients/clinics and a mandate to write within this prescription”, and a “great interest in education and training”.
In June 2022, pharmacy leaders expressed concern after HEE confirmed that The pharmaceutical magazine that it will not provide additional payments to support DPP functions, despite funding thousands of new places on independent prescribing courses over the next year, at £2,000 per place.
Applications were opened for the 3,000 IP training places in England in August 2022, ahead of the announcement by David Webb, chief pharmaceutical officer for England, that a trial of independent pharmacy prescribing services will be launched across England by 2023.
Thorrun Govind, Chairman of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s England Pharmacy Board, said: “It is extremely encouraging to see this innovative trial to increase DPP capacity in the system. There is an urgent need to increase the number of DPPs so that more pharmacists may become prescribers, some of whom may become DPPs in the future.
“It is vital that pharmacists in all roles receive protected apprenticeships to both work on their own development and to support the education of others. Creating pharmacists who are also leaders, educators and researchers and have the time to undertake activities in these areas is the only truly sustainable way to create the future oversight capacity needed to support future workforce development.”
According to HEE’s letter, ICSs were required to submit their expressions of interest in hosting a pilot by September 9, 2022, with successful bids to be notified by September 16, 2022.
Trainees participating in the pilot sites “can come from any sector,” the letter continues, but adds that “a particular focus will be on supporting community pharmacists.”
This is part of an ongoing step to train current pharmacy staff in independent prescribing before 2026, when IP training will be part of the pharmacy foundation training year – meaning all pharmacists who successfully pass the registration assessment will become independent prescribers. .
In May 2022, the General Pharmaceutical Council removed the requirements for pharmacists to be registered for two years before starting IP training.
Instead, they must demonstrate relevant experience in a pharmacy setting and demonstrate their ability to recognize, understand and articulate the skills and attributes required by a prescriber, which will be assessed by the IP course provider.