HEE to support Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Centre for Post Graduate Pharmacy Education to deliver fully funded pathway for advanced pharmacist practice

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Pharmacy workers in Essex

The first participants in a fully funded, supported e-portfolio pathway to recognise advanced pharmacist practice in England will get underway in March 2023

The pathway will be delivered by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in collaboration with Health Education England’s Centre for Advancing Practice and the Centre for Pharmacy Post Graduate Education (CPPE).

This collaborative approach will, for the first time, provide a pharmacy-specific professional development pathway for advanced pharmacist practice that recognises the quality assurance of the advanced practice education, training, and experience of pharmacists practicing as advanced practitioners.  

This new programme is an important step in creating a clear postgraduate career structure for pharmacists in England.

Successful completion of the pathway, assured through the RPS Core Advanced Pharmacist Curriculum assessment, will result in pharmacists being recognised by RPS as an advanced pharmacist, along with the awarding of HEE’s Centre for Advancing Practice’s ‘Advanced’ digital badge, demonstrating the quality assurance of their advanced practice preparation to patients, families, carers, and other healthcare professionals.

The innovative approach provides funding from HEE’s Centre for Advancing Practice in 2023-24 for 300 pharmacists in England who are near to, or already practicing at, an advanced level, to enable them to receive supervision and support in building their RPS Core Advanced e-Portfolio from CPPE’s pharmacy education supervisors. They will work to evidence the outcomes set out in the RPS Core Advanced Pharmacist Curriculum which is focused on delivering holistic care autonomously to people with complex needs. 

They will also work to demonstrate the leadership and management, education, and research capabilities of advanced practitioners who are expected to be able to lead service change and improve outcomes for groups of patients. 

Eligible pharmacists are those working in advanced practice roles who successfully apply through HEE’s Centre for Advancing Practice for its ePortfolio (supported) Route, including pharmacists who have completed the Primary care pharmacy education pathway with CPPE.

Places for pharmacists in cohorts 1-3 of the ePortfolio (supported) Route have been allocated, and the Centre is planning to make further places available for pharmacists in subsequent cohorts later this year.

Joseph Oakley, Associate Director for Education and Development, at RPS said: “We are proud to have led on this exciting collaboration which marks a milestone in recognising and assuring advanced pharmacist practice in England and we are delighted to be working with our partners on this. This pathway strikes the perfect balance between allowing pharmacists to develop specific advanced pharmacist capabilities whilst ensuring alignment with other healthcare professions. It also provides pharmacists with the opportunity to evidence their advanced practice through work-based experiential learning and assessment with the support of a high-quality educational supervisor.”

Dr Julian Barratt, Lead for the Centre for Advancing Practice at HEE, said: “The Centre for Advancing Practice is pleased to be able to work in collaboration with the RPS and CPPE to deliver an innovative ePortfolio process which will enable pharmacists working in advanced practice roles to gain recognition with both the RPS and Centre for Advancing Practice of the quality assurance of their educational and experiential preparation as advanced practitioners in alignment with the domains and capabilities of the (2022) RPS Core Advanced Pharmacist Curriculum, which are mapped to HEE’s (2017) Multi-professional framework for advanced clinical practice in England.” 

Dr Matthew Shaw, Director of CPPE, said: “It has long been the ambition at CPPE that completion of our practice-based learning pathways would enable the individual to gain recognition of their achievement through their professional body. Gaining this mark of assurance simultaneously through the HEE Centre for Advancing Practice and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society affords pharmacists a great opportunity. We look forward to continuing to support our learners as they evidence their practice change.”

Dr Jane Brown, Pharmacy Dean at HEE, said: “This is a huge step forward for pharmacists to be able to demonstrate their advanced level capabilities across all four pillars of practice. It will provide assurance to patients and other members of the multi-professional team about pharmacists’ level of practice. It will also raise the profile of professional development pathways, which is becoming increasingly important given the major developments in the initial education and training of pharmacists.”

Find out more about the RPS Core Advanced Pharmacist Curriculum and the Centre’s ePortfolio (supported) Route