14 July 2016

New competency framework for all prescribers

A new and updated Competency Framework to support healthcare professionals to prescribe effectively has been published.

Developed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in collaboration with NICE, the Framework sets out competencies central to effective performance needed by all prescribers, regardless of their professional background.

When prescribed and used effectively, medicines can significantly improve health and quality of life. However, prescribing medicines is becoming increasingly complex as more become available and the number of people with several long-term conditions increases. Between 30% and 50% of medicines prescribed for long-term conditions are not taken as intended, according to the World Health Organisation.

The updated Competency Framework can be used by any prescriber at any point in their career. It can also be used by regulators, education providers, professional organisations and specialist groups to inform guidance, education and advice.

It outlines ten key prescribing competencies under two areas: the consultation, and prescribing governance. Within these areas, statements describe the activity or outcomes prescribers should be able to demonstrate.

Ash Soni, President of the RPS, commented: “Both the number of medicines prescribed and the complexity of medicine regimens are increasing.  The challenges associated with prescribing the right medicines and supporting patients to use them effectively should not be underestimated.  

“There’s lots of evidence to show that much needs to be done to improve the way we prescribe and support patients in effective medicines use. This guide will be invaluable and I’m delighted the RPS has coordinated the update.”

Jonathan Underhill, Medicines Clinical Adviser at NICE’s Medicines and Prescribing Programme, said: “It is essential that medicines are prescribed in a way that is safe, efficient and appropriate to the person taking them. Involving the person or carer in that decision is becoming increasingly important and this framework emphasises that.

“Ultimately, this framework will help support prescribers to achieve the competence required to prescribe medicines in the most optimal way.”