PDA express concerns about the GPhC deregulation of independent prescriber training

The PDA has taken issue with the GPhC’s proposals for pharmacist independent prescriber training, which includes the removal of the two-year-experience safety net, the absence of a syllabus and seemingly the intention to allow pharmacy technicians to design and deliver training courses.

Fri 8th June 2018 The PDA

The PDA has taken issue with the GPhC’s proposals for pharmacist independent prescriber training, which includes the removal of the two-year-experience safety net, the absence of a syllabus and seemingly the intention to allow pharmacy technicians to design and deliver training courses. The PDA also took the view that “in some cases, the wording of the outcomes is unclear and/or the levels of outcome are inappropriate” and additional outcomes were needed.

The GPhC said that the removal of the two-year experience requirement was supported by course providers, but the PDA pointed out the apparent issues with the GPhC’s reasoning and its seemingly heavy reliance upon those views to inform its approach. In PDA’s response they questioned why the GPhC had not sought to hold course providers to account for the apparent failure to uphold GPhC course entry standards (outlined in the consultation), and why it was now proposing to trust the same providers to admit candidates only on the appropriateness of the applicant’s experience – the requirement they said they had hitherto failed to uphold. The PDA feels it would not bestow confidence in the rigour of the process and suggests there is significant risk that prospective candidates will be permitted to train, who are not ready to do so.

The PDA response asks the GPhC to explain under what circumstances it considers pharmacists not to be “in good standing” with it – a term used within the proposals.

Responding to the GPhC’s proposals, the PDA said:
To become a GP requires a 5-year medical degree, 2 years’ foundation training (during which time doctors can prescribe, but remain under clinical supervision and work in a highly clinical hospital environment) and then 3 years of training beyond that to become a GP (normally 18 months in an approved training practice and 18 months in approved hospital posts). This route ensures thorough training before a doctor could work as a GP assessing and diagnosing patients with varied conditions, many of which will require specialist referral.

Though it would not need to be as rigorous, the PDA would like to see a similar development pathway which properly prepares pharmacists for a role in prescribing. This would start at undergraduate level and continue with appropriate post-graduate training, potentially involving a mandatory period of work in a hospital environment as part of the training.”

It continued:
“The GPhC’s proposals in this consultation would allow a newly-qualified pharmacist to become an independent generalist prescriber (supervised by another person who may only just have qualified as a generalist prescriber) and work in a GP practice.

In our view this would deregulate standards, diminish professionalism and pose unnecessary risks to patients, if implemented. The proposal is antithetic to the approach we believe is necessary for the development of the profession. We are concerned that cost pressures in the NHS may be driving organisations such as the GPhC to deregulate and reduce standards; it is not the role of the pharmacy regulator to manage NHS budgets. Driven (we believe) by similar pressures, we have observed other policy approaches within pharmacy which appear to conflate the role of the pharmacist with that of the GP. This ultimately comes at the expense of patients and a safe and effective long-term healthcare strategy.”

You can download the full consultation response below.

thumbnail of GPhC IET PIPs PDA Consultation Response FINAL 05-06-2018

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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