Paper prescription
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The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has raised concern over the Health Education England (HEE)’s decision on cutting funding to independent prescribing training.

The HEE has reportedly decided that no funding will be available to back-fill trainees undertaking the pharmacist independent prescribing (PIP) qualification, or for the supervision of trainees by DPPs and DMPs.

The PDA noted that, 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 Designated Medical Practitioner (DMP) or Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) to support the 90 days of supervised practice required.

The association said it has already heard examples of potential DMPs or DPPs requesting a significant fee from trainees before they will provide supervision, adding that meeting that request is not an option for many.

“This latest decision threatens to undermine the availability of the large numbers of pharmacists seeing supervisors as more IP training becomes available,” it said in a statement.

The union also warned that this 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.

“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,” Alison Jones, Director of Policy at the PDA, said.

“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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