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HEE announces funding for another year of independent prescribing courses

22 February 2023

Health Education England (HEE) can today announce a further year of funding for independent prescribing courses to support pharmacists working across a number of settings.

The ability to independently prescribe is crucial for pharmacists delivering care across the NHS. This training enables pharmacists to support patients from diagnosis to prescribing, and to provide advice and follow-up – while also helping them to feel confident and prepared for the new challenges of their role.

Fully using the clinical skills and capabilities of community pharmacists, supported by significant investment in training, is part of a concerted effort across the health system to improve access to care in local communities and address health inequalities.

Pharmacists who meet the eligibility criteria will be able to apply for one of the almost 3,000 places on independent prescribing courses at a variety of universities across England.

Courses will be available between April 2023 and March 2024, with several universities offering multiple dates for cohort intakes. Start dates will depend on the university provider.

Eligible pharmacists can apply to universities listed on the HEE website.

They will need to demonstrate (as a minimum):

  • The support of an identified designated prescribing practitioner (DPP).
  • An appropriate practice-based learning environment in a prescribing setting that can offer appropriate clinical support.
  • Evidence that they meet the course provider eligibility criteria (applicants will be subject to their chosen university’s enrolment processes).
  • Commitment to use the skill within their area of competence and expertise, for the delivery of NHS clinical services as they emerge.

Alan Ryan, Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Health education England, said:

“I am delighted to confirm an additional year of fully funded independent prescribing places for pharmacists for 2023/24.

“Supporting the existing pharmacy workforce to train as independent prescribers is so important – so we have the workforce to develop and deliver new models of prescribing services in pharmacy, and so we continue to support pharmacists to skill-up in line with the reform of the Initial Education and Training of Pharmacists.

“I encourage pharmacists from across sectors, including community pharmacy and locums, to seize this opportunity.”

Dr Bruce Warner, Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at NHS England said:

“From September 2026, all newly qualified pharmacists will be independent prescribers on the day of registration, and this increase in the places for existing pharmacists including locums makes this crucial opportunity more widely available across the whole network.”   

More information about the General Pharmaceutical Council’s eligibility criteria is available on the GPhC website.

Pharmacists that are successful in applying to one of the approved universities will be allocated a fully funded place directly by the university. They do not need to apply to HEE for funding separately.