Independent prescribing in community pharmacy

Monday, November 4, 2019

You may be aware that recently, we welcomed Scottish Government funding (via NES) for over 60 community pharmacists to undertake independent prescribing courses. This funding covered not only the cost of the courses at Strathclyde and Robert Gordon Universities, but also the cost of backfill for attending course days and the required 90 hours of learning in practice. The first cohort of pharmacists will start graduating from summer 2020, and you might be wondering what it is they are going to do with their qualification – particularly if you are one of the people on the course!
Over the last few months we’ve been working on the answer to this question here at CPS, not least because there are also over 200 pharmacists with an independent prescribing qualification already out there working in community, but not necessarily getting the opportunity to use it. This must be frustrating and we know some people have left the community pharmacy sector for opportunities which allow them to utilise their full skillset.

We firmly believe that the principal use and core value of the IP qualification in community pharmacy practice lies in assessing and treating acute conditions, which the new cohort of pharmacists will receive additional training in. There are some pharmacies already offering these “Common clinical conditions” (CCC) services across the country, which are evaluating well with patients and pharmacy teams alike. We hope to show you how these services operate in practice over the course of the coming months.

Our vision is to have a service like this available from every community pharmacy in the country, eventually eliminating the need for PGD-based services and offering the people of Scotland a true “Pharmacy First” approach.

How this will all be funded is yet to be fully worked through, but our Board has made a commitment to ensure that existing IPs and those currently undertaking the fully funded course are all able to use their qualifications in practice in this way by the end of 2020. By starting small and evaluating the impact and value of the CCC service as we go, we are certain that we will be able to demonstrate a sustainable, if not indispensable asset to the NHS.

Although we don’t have all the details yet, please contact Adam or Amanda in the policy office if you would like to discuss further.

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