PDA: 2 years after qualification, eligibility criteria Course IP

The Pharmacists’ Defense Association (PDA) says the pharmacy regulator should maintain a two-year post-qualification eligibility requirement, in addition to introducing qualitative measures that would be in the best interest of patient safety, before a pharmacist is allowed to start an IP course.

The association was responding to an announcement of the GPhC’s decision to remove the two-year requirement for the Independent Prescribing (IP) course.

“The PDAs admits that the qualitative approach could mean greater individual consideration of potential candidates for IP courses and that the two-year measure could have sometimes been a brutal tool. However, the PDA is already seeing instances of patient harm and fitness to practice claims arising from intellectual property,” the association said.

The association also said it supports individual pharmacists in near misses, as well as real incidents, giving the organization the most comprehensive understanding of risk.

Frontline pharmacists also recognize these issues and in a survey of over 1,000 pharmacists by the PDA at the end of 2021, among those who had more than 2 years of practice experience and who were already independent prescribers , 90% said the qualification period should be two years or more.

“A further 3.2% were unsure, leaving only 6.8% agreeing with those who suggested the requirement be removed, as the GPhC has done.”

The PDA believes this is extremely important as people in this category have experienced the reality of being an independent prescriber.

He added: “Although the regulator has chosen to remove the two-year qualification period, this does not necessarily mean that those who lack post-qualification experience should be the next to take IP courses. With aspirations that many, perhaps most, of the existing profession will also become IPs, HEE and other bodies could make efforts to encourage those who already have practice experience to take the courses.

“There are also ways to mitigate the risk for new NPs, through a gradual or limited introduction to prescribing, which would build confidence and competence in a planned and managed pathway.”

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