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We have revised our standards for prescribing

12 Sep 2019

The Health and Care Professions Council has recently revised our standards for prescribing, following a public consultation. The revised standards took effect on 1 September 2019.

We aim to review our standards every five years, to make sure they:

  • remain effective and fit for purpose;
  • are well understood by our stakeholders and the public; and
  • take account of changes in practice, legislation, technology, guidelines and wider society.

Our previous standards for prescribing were published in August 2013, so were due for review.

What has been revised

Our standards for prescribing apply to registrants who are trained in supplementary or independent prescribing. They are set out in two parts: the standards for education providers and the standards for all prescribers.

We have adopted the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s ‘A Competency Framework for all Prescribers’ (the Framework, Appendix 2) as the HCPC’s standards for all prescribers. The Framework aligns closely with our previous standards for all prescribers. It also includes new competencies that we consider beneficial and necessary for prescribing practice:

  • Prescribes generic medicines where practical and safe for the patient and knows when medicines should be prescribed by branded product. (competency 4.4)
  • Considers the potential for misuse of medicines. (competency 4.7)
  • When possible, encourages and supports patients/carers to take responsibility for their medicines and self-manage their conditions. (competency 5.5)
  • Identifies the potential risks associated with prescribing via remote media (telephone, email or through a third party) and takes steps to minimise them. (competency 7.3)
  • Recognises and deals with factors that might unduly influence prescribing (e.g. pharmaceutical industry, media, patient, colleagues). (competency 8.5)

Our standards for education providers were revised to ensure greater consistency with our standards for education and training (SETs), and to extend the definition of ‘practice educator’ to all qualified, experienced and trained nonmedical prescribers. We will look to develop relevant guidance to clarify the skills, knowledge and experience required for practice educators.

What we considered

In proposing revisions to the standards, we considered the fact that new professions have been given prescribing rights since our previous standards were published, for example dietitians and paramedics.

Safe and effective prescribing relies on the same core competencies regardless of the prescriber’s professional background. We wanted to recognise this common skill and support a streamlined approach to the regulation of prescribing by the different regulators.

We also considered potential changes in prescribing practice, such as through technology advances, and wanted to have standards in place that were future proofed and would safeguard prescribers’ practice.

To find out more

You can find further practice guidance and resources on prescribing on our Medicines and prescribing rights page and your professional body.

We have also published more information about our revised prescribing standards for education providers.

Page updated on: 16/09/2019