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HEI prescribing programmes

Prescribing requires an additional HCPC annotation. Only HCPC approved courses provide eligibility for this annotation. Currently all approved programmes are delivered by Higher Education Institutions.

Approved programmes

File 107957

See the HCPC's register of approved prescribing programmes

If you are looking for an independent prescribing annotation, you must ensure your chosen HEI is approved for independent prescribing as well as supplementary prescribing before you start your programme. Retrospective approval of programmes cannot be given.

Curriculum Framework for full and conversion programmes

The Department of Health has fully revised and updated the curricula that HEIs are required to follow in order to prepare physiotherapists, podiatrists and radiographers for a prescribing annotation with the Health and Care Professions Council. These new curricula are owned by the Allied Health Professions Federation, on behalf of all the professions to which the curricula apply. Individual professions will take it in turns to host the curricula on their professional body websites.

Important information for HEIs

While HEIs may develop their own distinctive programme according to their identified target audience, all programmes must follow the broad content as outlined by the relevant Outline Curriculum Framework (OCF).

Programmes must adhere to the OCF requirements and meet the HCPC standards for programme approval. In addition, programmes must enable individual students, to meet the National Prescribing Centre (NPC) single competency framework for all prescribers.

  • Programmes should be developed in ways that optimise opportunities for inter-professional learning.
  • The legislative prescribing framework for each profession remains different. HEI’s must be able to distinguish these differences within programmes so that students are only taught, and assessed against, the legislative framework that applies to their own profession. Generic assessment frameworks for all students will no longer suffice.
  • Knowledge of physiotherapy is required within programme teams to develop IP programmes suitable for the profession.
  • The regulatory framework that applies to physiotherapists is the HCPC framework, and physiotherapists must be assessed against the HCPC standards for prescribing, not any other regulatory framework.
  • The OCF for physiotherapists is different in format from the curriculum frameworks that apply to nurse prescribing. HEIs must be able to distinguish these differences, and ensure that physiotherapists follow a programme that meets the OCF that applies to their profession.
  • It is essential that HEIs seek to ensure that physiotherapists enrolling on prescribing programmes are clear about the legislative, regulatory and education frameworks that apply to their profession, and that they have to fulfil the HCPC requirements for prescribing annotation for their profession.
  • Where an HEI is seeking to develop a combined programme in IP/SP for physiotherapists, the distinct requirements within and for each route, and the eligibility that they respectively grant in terms of HCPC annotation and future practice, should be made very clear to students prior to their enrolment.

Funding of Programmes

Scotland: the Scottish government currently provides funding for all places on Nursing Midwifery and Allied Health Professional prescribing programmes at Scottish Universities and will continue to do so in 2014.

Wales: members practising in Wales and employed by Welsh NHS Boards can apply to the Welsh Education Development Service (WEDS) for funding to undertake a non-medical prescribing course. It is understood that programmes may be undertaken at Welsh HEIs, or elsewhere in the UK.

Northern Ireland: the DHSSPSNI commission training places for AHP supplementary and independent prescribing courses. The courses are commissioned on the basis of a commission cycle and are therefore only free to employees from HSC Trusts in Northern Ireland.

Updates from devolved administrations

Scotland: independent prescribing legislation came into force on 1 May 2014.

Wales: independent prescribing legislation comes into force on 24 September 2014. At the current time, it is understood that some Welsh Health Boards may only accept the prescribing numeracy and statistical modules from Welsh HEI's, and prescribing qualifications obtained outside Wales, and may not be not transferrable to Welsh NHS settings. Members prescribing in Wales are advised to check their employer’s requirements before signing up to a prescribing programme.

Northern Ireland: no dates have yet been set for amending NI regulations and currently no NI HEIs have sought HCPC validation for IP programmes.


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