Pharmacy GPhC Initial Education and Training reforms for 2025-26 - Communications page

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NES Pharmacy are undertaking work to ensure delivery of the new GPhC initial education and training (IET) standards for pharmacists

By the 2025-26 FTY training year commencing in July 2025. NES is working with the GPhC and key stakeholders in Scotland through the Foundation Training Year (FTY) Group to develop and implement plans to achieve this. This page will be updated regularly as proposals are agreed and finalised.

Expressing Interest in becoming a DPP

To be kept up to date with the latest information and to express your interest in supporting Scotland's future pharmacists, register you details via the following link - Interest in Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP)

What do these standards mean?

From July 2026, new pharmacists will join the GPhC pharmacist register  as independent prescribers. They will not  be required to undertake a post-registration qualification at a Scottish School of Pharmacy. To facilitate this, the underpinning knowledge elements required  will be delivered within Years 1-4 of the MPharm degree and the ‘Period of Learning in Practice’ (PLP), where the knowledge is applied in practice, will occur during the Foundation Training Year .

N.B. The standalone independent prescribing qualification will continue to be provided by the two Scottish Schools of Pharmacy for qualified pharmacists.

As a result of these new standards there is some new terminology and role names, the following figure below gives some detail to help with the understanding of these.

New role name terminology
Previous Titles New/Current Titles
Pre Registration Trainee

Foundation Training Year (FTY) Trainee Pharmacist

Pre Registration Tutor Designated Supervisor (DS)
Experiential Learning (EL) pharmacy student Experiential Learning (EL) student pharmacist
Experiential Learning (EL) responsible pharmacist EL Facilitator
New programme - training & development programme for newly qualified pharmacists Post Registration Foundation Programme (PRFP)
New role - Pharmacist enrolled on PRFP Foundation Pharmacist (FP)
New role - professional involved in SLEs across pharmacy training programmes Collaborator
New role - practitioner who supports trainee IPs to develop their prescribing skills and completes the final assessment and sign off on the competencies required to become an IP. Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP)
New role - active prescriber with at least 6 months experience who works alongside trainee IP and DPP to provide supervision during Period of Learning in Practice (PLP). Can be 'stepping stone' to DPP. Prescribing Supervisor

 

The PLP (a minimum of 90 hours) can take place throughout the entire Foundation Training Year or may be restricted to a particular timeframe according to the individual training plan. This should be discussed at the start of FTY and incorporated into the FTY training plan for each individual trainee pharmacist.  

All 55 GPhC learning outcomes, including the 19 prescribing related learning outcomes must be achieved by the student/trainee pharmacist throughout their 5 years of initial education and training (4 years of MPharm + 1 year FTY). Within their FTY, trainee pharmacists must gather a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate they have met all the GPhC IET learning outcomes.

The first cohort undertaking the new learning outcomes, including the prescribing related learning outcomes will sit their GPhC common registration assessment in summer 2026.

Are there any exceptions to this?

There may be some exceptions to this new system. These include:

  •  student pharmacists who started their training before 2021 but may have taken time out from their MPharm studies  e.g. for ill health, voluntary or academic suspension and thus will have completed their MPharm assessed against the GPhC interim learning outcomes
  • Those who have undertaken an OSPAP course

These trainee pharmacists will not work towards the prescribing elements of the learning outcomes and will not complete the PLP during their training year; following successful completion of their FTY, they will apply to the GPhC to register as non-prescribers. Any trainee pharmacist affected by these restrictions will be highlighted to their employer and DS.

What is a DPP and why does a trainee pharmacist need one?

Trainee pharmacists starting their FTY from July 2025 will require both, a designated supervisor (DS) and a designated prescribing practitioner (DPP) during their PLP when the GPhC prescribing learning outcomes will be assessed. The DS may also be the DPP if appropriately qualified.

Initially for the 2025-26 FTY training year cohort, NES is proposing that any trainee pharmacist who is linked to a DS who is not a DPP, will also be linked to a separate DPP. The DPP does not have to be a pharmacist but could be a medical or nursing DPP. The trainee pharmacist should have a named DPP at the start of the FTY even if the PLP does not begin till later in the year. It is anticipated the PLP could be completed within a 3–6-month period if necessary but the trainee pharmacist would require support and mentorship for the full 12 months if possible. The DPP induction meeting must occur by the week 26 appraisal point. 

The DS and DPP (where working jointly) must discuss trainee pharmacist progression in relation to prescribing competency regularly and jointly sign off completed prescribing learning outcomes. They must also discuss and agree before the final sign off point for the trainee pharmacist. This supervision relationship is shown in Figure 1 below.

Supervision relationship between the trainee, DS, DPP and NES

Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP)

  • Supervises and provides feedback whilst acquiring and developing new prescribing related skills
  • Ensures working within competence/safely netting as develops prescribing capabilities
  • Provides prescribing learning outcomes progress to DS 2 weeks before 13/26/39 week appraisal
  • Final sign off of prescribing learning outcomes week 47-49

NES

  • Reviews appraisal progress including appropriate final sign off
  • Quality management of DS & DPP roles
  • Provides support where standards of competence are below expectation

Designated Supervisor (DS)

  • Encourages learner self-assessment to develop potential ability
  • Encourages reflection/goal setting
  • Oversees progression towards all IET learning outcomes
  • Completes 13/26/39 week appraisal
  • Final sign off of all IET learning outcomes week 49-52

In an attempt to increase the number of available pharmacist DPPs, Scotland is increasing the number of opportunities for pharmacists to undertake their prescribing qualification including adding prescribing into the NES Post Registration Foundation Programme. Pharmacy stakeholders in Scotland have also started a marketing campaign to encourage active pharmacist prescribers to become DPPs.

What is the Period of Learning in Practice (PLP)?

The 90 hours minimum of PLP within the FTY does not need to be completed in any specific ‘block’ of time, it can occur throughout the full 52 weeks. The DS and DPP (where working jointly) should agree, as part of the training plan for FTY, the best model for the trainee pharmacist. A number of templates for Prescribing Supervision plans are available:

The DPP is NOT required to directly supervise the trainee pharmacist for the entire PLP, but they must ensure that appropriate clinical supervision is in place at all times to ensure patient safety. They may delegate some of the PLP supervision to other appropriately qualified members of the healthcare team, but they must conduct sufficient direct supervision and assessment of the trainee pharmacist to enable them to make an informed assessment decision relating to the trainee pharmacist. The trainee pharmacist must have undertaken sufficient supervised learning events to demonstrate appropriate progress towards the prescribing-related learning outcomes by the week 39 appraisal point.

The DS must also complete 13-week appraisals which are submitted to NES for monitoring of progression. All 13-week appraisals must have documented progress from the DPP.

From the 2025-26 training year, the DPP will be required to:

  • Undertake the required training so they may carry out the necessary supervision required while the trainee pharmacist carries out tasks during their PLP ensuring that patient safety is not compromised
  • Self-assess against the RPS DPP competency framework that they meet that standard  
  • Complete an IET DPP declaration and submit to NES
  • Have regular meetings documented on TURAS Portfolio with the trainee pharmacist during the PLP (led by the trainee pharmacist)  
  • Spend an appropriate amount of time with the trainee pharmacist to be able to co-sign off the GPhC prescribing learning outcomes (where working jointly)  
  • Provide constructive feedback to the trainee pharmacist’s DS (where working jointly) and trainee pharmacist on progress. Note this may include holistic professional development out with the prescribing learning outcomes
  • Discuss trainee pharmacist progression with DS before final sign off particularly in relation to prescribing competency
Assessment of prescribing related learning outcomes

DPPs will require to co-sign off the 19 GPhC IET prescribing related learning outcomes, which were identified by the Prescribing into Foundation Training Year reference group following mapping to the RPS Competency Framework for all Prescribers.

By meeting these learning outcomes, trainee pharmacists will demonstrate their competence as a pharmacist prescriber. Their portfolio will complement the GPhC registration assessment to enable the trainee pharmacist to dual register as a newly qualified pharmacist and an independent prescriber. Trainee pharmacists do not need to meet additional competencies or learning outcomes on top of the GPhC IET learning outcomes to become a prescriber.

Prescribing related learning outcomes

As preparation for post-graduate career frameworks, trainee pharmacists will collate a portfolio of evidence on TURAS Portfolio that builds an overall picture of their performance. Trainee pharmacists demonstrate they meet the prescribing related learning outcomes through supervised learning events (SLEs) supplemented by documentary evidence and reflections to triangulate evidence.

Triangulation of evidence for Foundation Training Year e-Portfolio

Triangulation of evidence for Foundation Training Year e-Portfolio

There is no minimum number of supervised learning events to be completed; DPPs will determine if the SLEs within the portfolio demonstrate the trainee consistently meets each prescribing learning outcome. However, trainees must use a mix of supervised learning events:

SLE Type Used to evidence Mandatory/optional
Direct Obervation of Procedural Skills (DOPS) Physical assessment skills Mandatory
Mini-Clinical Examination (mini-CEX) Consulatation and shared decision-making skills Mandatory
Case based Discussions (CbD) Appropriate prescribing choices, clinical and non-clinical management Mandatory
Case presentation History taking /data gathering, clinical reasoning and appropriate safety netting/monitoring/follow up Mandatory
Acute care assessment tool (ACAT) Workload prioritisation and decision making under pressure Optional

In line with portfolio good practice[1], trainee pharmacists are encouraged to seek a wide range of SLE assessors from both the wider pharmacy team (including accuracy checking technicians and dispensing technicians) and other healthcare professionals within the multi-disciplinary team.

At least one assessor should undertake SLEs at multiple timepoints throughout FTY to ensure appropriate progression and to ensure learning points identified earlier in the FTY have been actioned.

 


[1] C. P. M. van der Vleuten, L. W. T. Schuwirth, E. W. Driessen, J. Dijkstra, D. Tigelaar, L. K. J. Baartman & J. van Tartwijk (2012) A model for programmatic assessment fit for purpose, Medical Teacher, 34:3, 205-214, DOI: 10.3109/0142159X.2012.652239

Record of period of learning in practice

Trainee pharmacists will maintain an editable logbook of their time spent during their 90 hours period of learning in practice. The log will consist of:

  • Numbers of hours per activity
  • Date
  • Purpose of activities and very brief description of what activity undertaken
  • Patient facing/ non-patient facing activity
  • Who observed/ spent time with
  • Supervised Learning Events (SLEs) completed for each activity block or if no SLE completed, feedback ticket confirming what activities were undertaken
  • Ideally the learning outcomes the SLEs link to

The log will be reviewed by the DPP as part of the co-sign off of the prescribing-related learning outcomes.

Criteria and Training Requirements for Trainee Pharmacists DPPs

Current plans, subject to GPhC accreditation, for DPP recruitment and training are:

Employer requirements

Trainee pharmacist employers are responsible for providing a suitable Foundation Training Year (FTY) DPP and commit to this as part of the FTY recruitment process. The DPP can be an employee or external healthcare prescribing professional with the defined levels of knowledge and experience. Arrangements for DPP support provided by non-employees should be agreed between parties. eg local GP or advanced nurse practitioner.

During FTY recruitment employers will be asked to notify NES of  FTY DPP details for each trainee pharmacist prior to them commencing their role. Timelines will align with the current process for notifying the identified DS. Employers will be asked to provide:

  • FTY DPP name.
  • FTY Professional body registration number.
  • FTY DPP’s employer/organisation.
  • Confirmation that no fitness to practice investigations are pending with the identified FTY DPP.
  • Confirmation that the FTY DPP has allocated time to attend mandatory induction training and fulfil the supportive and assessment requirements of the role.

Criteria to be a FTY DPP

Criteria to be a FTY DPP aligns with the GPhC requirements[1],[2].

  • An active* independent prescriber undertaking patient-facing activities in an area of practice relevant to the trainee pharmacist’s learning environment (e.g. treating common clinical conditions within community pharmacy).
  • Prescribes in line with the RPS Prescriber Competency Framework[3] and has appropriate knowledge and experience to develop trainee pharmacists in prescribing practice.
  • Ideally has experience of supervising healthcare professionals or other pharmacy team members.
  • Additional training will be offered where FTY DPPs identify gaps. NES will provide ongoing support when initially undertaking the role. 
  • Have no fitness to practice investigations pending.

 

*Active can be defined as, consulting with patients, using clinical assessment and diagnostic skills and making prescribing decisions based on clinical assessment with sufficient frequency to maintain competence. Reflects and audits prescribing practice to identify developmental needs.

IN ADDITION, FTY DPPs will be asked to:

  • Confirm support of their employer/organisation to undertake the role.
  • Enable trainee pharmacists to access period of learning in practice experiences by using local healthcare professional networks such as GP surgeries, optometrists, audiologists, physiotherapists, advanced nurse practitioners, outpatient or out of hours clinics, primary care, mental health or addictions pharmacy teams.
  • Signpost to colleagues where elements are out with their scope of competence to ensure trainee pharmacists experience a broad range of prescribing, consulting, physical assessment and clinical decision making.
  • Undertake supervised learning events and have regular meetings to reflect and provide feedback on trainee pharmacist progress.
  • Co-sign off the 19 prescribing-related learning outcomes, impartially, along with the trainee pharmacist’s DS

[1] General Pharmaceutical Council. (2021). Standards for initial education and training of pharmacists. standards-for-the-initial-education-and-training-of-pharmacists-january-2021_final-v1.3.pdf (pharmacyregulation.org)

[2] General Pharmaceutical Council. (2022). Standards for the education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers. Standards for the education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers (pharmacyregulation.org)

[3] Royal Pharmaceutical Society. (2021). Prescriber Competency Framework. Prescribing Competency Framework | RPS (rpharms.com)


 

FTY DPP Training Requirements

FTY DPPs must complete:

  • Supervision training relevant to their profession. For pharmacists the supervision modules covering all workstreams are NES Pharmacy 7 e-learning modules.
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion training - either employer or NES training.
  • A self-declaration form following self-assessment against the RPS Prescriber Competency Framework and RPS DPP Framework.
  • A half-day mandatory programme specific training session prior to being a FTY DPP for the first time.
  • One peer review session per annum.
  • Appropriate CPD relating to the role.

Once these are complete, NES will assign new FTY DPPs this role on the training management system for a 3-year period. This aligns to the current process for Designated Supervisors (DS).

NES training and support provision

NES will continue to offer support that aligns to current DS provision. It is expected an online DPP peer group will be established as an additional support mechanism.

Expressing Interest in becoming a DPP

To be kept up to date with the latest information and to express your interest in supporting Scotland's future pharmacists, register you details via the following link - Interest in Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP)