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CPD requirements for pharmacists in general practice

Dr Ivana Knyght explains CPD requirements for pharmacists, how practices can support their pharmacists' CPD and highlights some useful resources.

Pharmacists are required to maintain and develop professional knowledge and skills by undertaking and recording CPD activities which are regularly audited by the professional regulator, the General Pharmaceutical Council (the GPhC).

At the present time, pharmacists have to make a minimum of nine CPD entries per year for each full year of registration. These entries should reflect the context and scope of their practice and record how their CPD has contributed to the quality or development of their practice.

Upcoming changes to CPD

GPhC is introducing new CPD requirements for revalidation in 2018 to further assure that pharmacists meet standards for safe and effective practice throughout their careers.

The new arrangements will also help pharmacists prepare for new roles and professional development opportunities, including roles in general practice. The new requirements will still encompass CPD, but will also involve a peer discussion and reflective account. This will be annual and linked to registration.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), the professional body for pharmacists and pharmacy, recognises that pharmacists need to be able to demonstrate and maintain competence and develop skills, knowledge and behaviours to enable them to undertake new and emerging roles.

A key strategic objective of the RPS is to support the education and training of pharmacists. We provide RPS Professional Development Programmes that support pharmacists at all stages of their career, from day-one through to retirement, so they can be the best they can be when providing care to patients and the public.

We also support pharmacists changing sectors/areas of practice, returning after a break, or looking for ways to progress their career or take on a new role.

RPS Faculty and CPD

The RPS Faculty programme provides a developmental framework which outlines knowledge, skills and experience expected of pharmacists. The framework supports the development of both advanced and specialist practice and is applicable to all sectors of pharmacy. Pharmacists can use the Faculty tools and portfolio to record CPD.

Additionally, for pharmacists who want to gain recognition of their stage of advancement, they can submit their CPD for assessment, for which there are four elements:

1. Practice-based portfolio
This is an online tool which helps pharmacists gather and organise evidence from their professional practice.  It reflects the learnings, experience and professional achievements within a specific role.

2. Peer assessment or review
The concept is based on the premise that the role of a pharmacist in the multidisciplinary team is fundamental to the provision of good patient care or service delivery, demonstrating accountability for services that pharmacists provide to patients.

3. An up-to-date CV

4. Practice assessment
This is an oral assessment where pharmacists need to demonstrate their depth of knowledge and skills). As an employer, you can be assured that pharmacists who have been awarded faculty membership have demonstrated advanced practice in pharmacy. Your patients can also be assured that your pharmacist is committed to their personal development and has been recognised by their royal college, the RPS.

Support for pharmacists working in general practice

The RPS Faculty programme supports pharmacists in general practice to develop good practice and can help ensure a seamless transition into this new environment, for example, skills in communication, leadership, management, teamwork and consultation. The programme also enables pharmacists to identify areas they may want to develop further.

Those working in general practice can use the RPS Faculty to focus their learning and use it to structure their career progression in this new role.  We have also developed a library of resources for pharmacists working in general practice.

Pharmacists looking for further support with CPD and their professional development can be directed to the RPS Professional Support service (support@rpharms.com), which can provide one-to-one advice on what they need to consider and what to do next.

How can practices support pharmacist with their CPD

We encourage pharmacists to seek support from mentors with their development through our mentoring programme. The RPS provides support and resources, and match them to a suitable mentor.

We also encourage pharmacists to seek mentorship from other colleagues, including GPs, because we recognise that they may want support from those with different experiences. This can support professional development and prompt CPD learning and/or activity.

Practices can support their pharmacist’s professional development by also getting them involved in mentoring or training the practice team and other healthcare professionals. Pharmacists have a wealth of knowledge of medicines and pharmaceutical care and can offer support with prescribing and medicines optimisation.

Some pharmacists already hold a prescribing qualification, but if they don’t they can undertake a pharmacist prescriber course that has been accredited by the GPhC and delivers in line with the RPS Prescribing Framework. The framework supports the delivery of safe and effective care by describing the knowledge and skills which underpin good prescribing and helping pharmacists use their prescribing qualification in the most effective way.

RPS-accredited resources and training
There are also lots of training and development opportunities available through RPS-accredited training providers. Practices can also set up a course to suit the needs of their practice and apply for RPS accreditation so that pharmacists can identify a resource of the highest quality.

  • Dr Ivana Knyght is Faculty Support Pharmacist, Royal Pharmaceutical Society

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