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Training for non-medical prescribers

Non-medical prescribing (NMP) is the term used to describe any prescribing completed by a healthcare professional other than a doctor or dentist.

What are the benefits to non-medical prescribing?

NMP has an important role to play in transformation of services and therefore programmes to provide training to eligible healthcare professionals are essential to meet the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan. NMP has demonstrated great impact for patient care in terms of access, expertise and economic benefit. Consequently, investing in NMP is seen as ‘an investment to save’ and encouraging NMP capacity is seen as a vital upskilling priority and features as a key enabler in the planning and delivery of new care models and transforming care.

NMP training can support role and career development by enabling practitioners to take on greater responsibilities for managing patient care. NMP enhances patient care by supporting patients’ timely access to treatment with medicines, enabling choice whilst helping to reduce waiting times, reduce hospital admissions and maximising the wider skills of the healthcare team.

The Department of Health specify which registered professionals can become non-medical prescribers. At present the eligible professionals included are:

Independent and supplementary prescribers

- Nurses/Midwives

- Pharmacists

- Physiotherapists

- Podiatrist

- Paramedics

- Optometrists

- Therapeutic Radiographers

Supplementary prescribers only

- Diagnostic Radiographers

- Dieticians

Community Practitioner Prescribers

- Nurses (Health Visitors and District Nurses)

The preparation for and acquisition of NMP skills is achieved by eligible practitioners undertaking an accredited programme, delivered by a Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Non-medical prescribing programmes provide the knowledge, skills and training to prescribe safely and competently.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has created a Prescribing Competency Framework for all prescribers that has been designed to help maintain prescribing standards, inform education curricula and provide a source of recognised guidance for those involved in NMP.

All prescribing roles build on and extend registered professions ability to deliver full episodes of patient care. In turn this enhances patients’ timely access to treatment with medicines and patient experience whilst reducing waiting times, hospital admissions and more effectively using members of the healthcare team.

Where are NMP courses available in the North of England?

Within the North of England, there are currently 21 HEIs that have been approved to deliver non-medical prescribing programmes.

The Non-medical Prescribing HEI Information table below contains the names of the HEIs and includes core information including, the number of academic credits, the academic level(s), the number of face to face study days, the cost and the professions that can access the course.

Further specific detail, e.g. courses content, assessment, start dates, is available to view on individual University websites.

Application forms can be supplied by the University or the local NMP Lead (if your organisation has one).

Some organisations will require a local NMP lead to check the application and sign it off, before it is submitted to the university.

The university or NMP lead, will be able to provide further details.

NMP courses are funded in a variety of ways.

Across the North many courses are funded by NHS , there are criteria that must be met in order to access this funding (see below), this may also include agreement from your organisation or ICB to use their allocation of funding.

Employing organisations can fund courses directly.

Candidates are also able to self-fund the course.

Some pharmacists, undertaking specified roles in primary care and community, may be able to access funding via the Pharmacy Integration Programme.

What criteria must be satisfied to qualify for funding from NHS England?

In order to qualify for a NHS England funded place on a prescribing course you must:

- Be working in or providing an NHS service where NMP can be used as part of the service (i.e. not private aesthetic services)

- Have employer/organisational approval to use NMP as part of their service/practice

- Have appropriate and confirmed access to a prescribing budget and prescription pad, if needed

- Have confirmed access to the appropriate supervisor(s)

- Have a commitment to the appropriate number of hours of supervised practice from both your employer and the prescribing supervisor

- Meet the HEI admission criteria

- Meet any local/employer requirements.

The prescribing supervisor is an independent supervisor who completes assessment and teaching in practice (previously known as a designated medical practitioner (DMP). The term Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) is now used to describe any eligible healthcare professional who is annotated as a prescriber with their professional registration body. A DPP directs and supervises a trainee non-medical prescriber (also called independent prescriber) during a period of learning in practice.

You may have a team of supervisors who work with your DPP to provide training and support.

Supervision of pharmacist prescriber training from 2025/26

In 2021, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) published a new set of learning outcomes and Standards for the Initial Education and Training of Pharmacists (IETPs). This incorporates independent prescribing into both the MPharm (undergraduate degree) and the foundation trainee pharmacist training year (the new name for the pre-registration year). This means that pharmacists joining the register in 2026 (having been taught and assessed against the new learning outcomes) will be independent prescribers at the point of first registration.

New guidance is provided here for Prescribing Supervision and Assessment in the Foundation Trainee Pharmacist Programme from 2025/26

Full information is available here relating to supervision and becoming a designated prescribing practitioner for pharmacists training to be a prescriber; including FAQ, supervision requirements and support available.

The newly qualified NMP must:

- Register with the relevant regulator i.e. GPhC, NMC, HCPC

- Provide confirmation to their employers of their successful annotation

- Complete any other local/employer requirements e.g. scope of practice/formulary

- Ensure they have appropriate indemnity arrangements

- Maintain competence and undertake annual CPD and revalidation as specified by their regulator

- Ensure they have appropriate support to undertake their prescribing role.