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PDA expresses concerns about decision not to fund Designated Prescribing Practitioners

‘Back-fill’ funding will not be available for pharmacists undertaking Independent Prescribing training, Designated Medical Practitioners (DMPs), or Designated Prescribing Practitioners (DPPs).

Fri 17th June 2022 The PDA

The PDA is concerned about recent confirmation from Health Education England (HEE) that there will be no funding made available to back-fill trainees undertaking the pharmacist independent prescribing (PIP) qualification, or for the supervision of trainees by DPPs and DMPs.

Whilst all successful trainee pharmacists will be entering the GPhC register as independent prescribers from 2026, the existing pharmacist workforce is reliant on opportunities to undertake prescriber training through release from their employment, and the ability to secure a DPP or DMP to support the 90 days of supervised practice required.

The PDA has already heard examples of potential DMPs or DPPs requesting a significant fee from trainees before they will provide supervision. Meeting that request is not an option for many, and this latest decision threatens to undermine the availability of the large numbers of pharmacists securing supervisors as more IP training becomes available.

The latest development is also a cause for concern for the locum pharmacist workforce, where back-fill was never an option, and loss of earnings would be incurred if they wish to undertake PIP training.

In January 2022, the PDA highlighted this issue, arguing that with around 10,000 locum pharmacists in membership working across a wide variety of healthcare settings, it is essential that there are a significant number of locums trained to be IPs to meet the future needs of employers, including the NHS.

The PDA called for one possible solution to be a bursary arrangement to be made available to those undertaking the qualification beyond the basic costs of the course, which could be used for back-fill or to supplement lost income, but the latest announcement makes it clear that any such funding will not be available.

It is in everyone’s interests to ensure that there are enough pharmacists progressing to become PIPs. In addition to the care and services they will be able to offer to patients, they may be the DPPs of the following cohorts, and therefore a fundamental element of delivering the experiential learning aspects of the Initial Education and Training for upcoming pharmacists.

Alison Jones, Director of Policy at the PDA said, “With such significant changes to pharmacists’ education, and the vision of the NHS for pharmacists to play a much greater role in providing clinical care to patients and the public, it is disappointing to see the lack of strategic planning and funding to support this programme through to see it reach its full potential.

Rather than plan to overcome emerging barriers to the roll-out of the IP training, this approach makes it harder for the objectives of the initiative to be met.  It could also be significantly unfair if the NHS subsequently makes a u-turn as any pharmacist who has self-funded a DPP/DMP for their training will rightly be frustrated if later cohorts do get funding.”

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The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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