Key Facts

Course Title: Independent Prescribing
Course type: Certificate in Independent Prescribing (including the professional Independent Prescribing Preparatory Certificate)
Mode of Study:Part Time
Contact Details:Ms Linda Foster
Website: Go to School homepage
Faculty: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Subject Area: Pharmacy


In 2006 legislation was passed that permitted appropriately qualified pharmacists to assume the role of Independent Prescriber. This was an extension of prescribing rights from the initial supplementary prescribing role that many pharmacists had been fulfilling since 2004.

Pharmacists who wish to take on the prescribing role must complete an education programme that fulfils the requirements stipulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

Our preparatory course for pharmacist independent prescribers provides 60 Masters level academic credits. On successful completion of the course you will be eligible to register with the GPhC to carry out an Independent Prescribing and/or Supplementary Prescribing role; and will also be awarded the Certificate in Prescribing Studies (Independent Prescribing) postgraduate University award.

Choice and flexibility are key features of the School of Pharmacy Postgraduate programmes. The Independent Prescribing course may also be used towards a Diploma in Clinical Pharmacy Practice or an Advanced Practitioner award.  

Why choose to study the Independent Pharmacist Prescribing course at Keele? 
The Centre for Professional Development and Lifelong Learning, part of the School of Pharmacy at Keele University, has a reputation for providing stimulating education programmes for general practitioners, pharmacists, nurses and other members of the health care team. We offer a multidisciplinary approach that ensures our courses encompass a broad range of skills and are responsive to the changing health care environment.

We are very proud that The Centre for Professional Development and Lifelong Learning in the School of Pharmacy was the first education provider in the UK to have its course for preparing pharmacists as supplementary prescribers accredited by the RPSGB in June 2003. We were also among the first to provide an Independent Prescribing (IP) Conversion Course and a Keele graduate was the first pharmacist to qualify as an independent pharmacist prescriber in the UK in January 2007.  Since 2007 in the region of 200 pharmacists have qualified as Independent Prescribers with Keele.

Our course is designed specifically for pharmacists and both the course manager and course tutors have extensive experience of working in a prescribing role. In addition our course has been approved by the GPhC to be delivered by a distance learning format requiring only seven days attendance at the University over a 6 month period. The distance learning format of the courses enables busy health professionals to study where and when it is most convenient to them. If you are still wondering whether the IP course is for you have a look at the Preparing to Prescribe toolkit that was developed by Surrey University with input from Keele at

Aims of the Course

Educational Aims and Learning Outcomes

The aims and learning outcomes for the course are those stipulated by the GPhC for a full Independent Prescribing programme. They are expressed below in a manner that is compatible with Masters level study.


The overall aim is to enable pharmacists to practise and develop as prescribers and to meet the standards set by the General Pharmaceutical Council.

 Learning Outcomes

Following completion of the course, pharmacist independent prescribers will be able to demonstrate all the following learning outcomes, by applying knowledge of therapeutics and prescribing to the condition(s) for which they intend to prescribe, using an evidence-based approach that takes into account recent research and current professional practice:

1. understand the responsibility that the role of independent prescriber entails, be aware of their own limitations and work within the limits of their professional competence – knowing when and how to refer / consult / seek guidance from another member of the health care team.

2. develop an effective relationship and communication with patients, carers, other prescribers and members of the health care team.

3. describe the pathophysiology of the condition being treated and recognise the signs and symptoms of illness, take an accurate history and carry out a relevant clinical assessment where necessary.

4. use common diagnostic aids e.g. stethoscope, sphygmomanometer.

5. use diagnostic aids relevant to the condition(s) for which the pharmacist intends to prescribe, including monitoring response to therapy.

6. apply clinical assessment skills to:

- inform a working diagnosis.
- formulate a treatment plan.
- the prescribing of one or more medicines if appropriate.
- carry out a checking process to ensure patient safety.
- monitor response to therapy, review the working/differential diagnosis and modify treatment or refer
- consult / seek guidance as appropriate.

7. demonstrate a shared approach to decision making by assessing patients’ needs for medicines, taking account of their wishes and values and those of their carers when making prescribing decisions.

8. identify and assess sources of information, advice and decision support and demonstrate how they will use them in patient care taking into account evidence based practice and national/local guidelines where they exist.

9. recognise, evaluate and respond to influences on prescribing practice at individual, local and national levels.

10. prescribe, safely, appropriately and cost effectively.

11. work within a prescribing partnership.

12. maintain accurate, effective and timely records and ensure that other prescribers and health care staff are appropriately informed.

13. demonstrate an understanding of the public health issues related to medicines use.

14. demonstrate an understanding of the legal, ethical and professional framework for accountability and responsibility in relation to prescribing.

15. work within clinical governance frameworks that include audit of prescribing practice and personal development.

16. participate regularly in CPD and maintain a record of their CPD activity.

Entry Requirements

Only pharmacists with 2 years post-registration experience in a UK pharmacy setting are eligible to apply for a place on this course.

The entrance requirements are stipulated by the GPhC and the University. All entrants to the Keele University Independent Prescribing Preparatory Course must meet the following requirements:

1. Current registration with GPhC &/or PSNI as a practising pharmacist

2. Have at least two years appropriate patient orientated experience practising in a hospital, community or primary care setting following their pre-registration year;

3. Identify an area of clinical practice and need in which to develop their prescribing skills;

4. Have up-to-date clinical, pharmacological and pharmaceutical knowledge relevant to their intended area of prescribing practice;

5. able to provide written endorsement from an appropriate medical practitioner (the 'designated medical practitioner' - DMP) that s/he will supervise the 'learning in practice' element of the Course, in the clinical area in which the pharmacist intends to prescribe independently immediately on qualification;

6. Demonstrate how they reflect on their own performance and take responsibility for their own CPD;

7. Demonstrate how they will develop their own networks for support, reflection and learning, including prescribers from other professions.

Course Content

The course content is dictated by the General Pharmaceutical Council and may be viewed from the following link:

Teaching and Assessment

This is a distance learning programme that includes six compulsory days (one day per month) face to face teaching at the University.  Learning materials are delivered by distance learning technologies based on structured and interactive learning resources and may include on line group discussions, webinars and screencasts.


A variety of assessment methods are used to enable you to meet the learning outcomes. These include:

Case Presentation - oral presentation.
Case Discussion - conducted and assessed by Designated Medical Practitioner (DMP).
2,500 word Practice-Based Audit. - written
Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).
Reflective Portfolio, including a Learning Outcomes/Prescribing Competencies Workbook.

Additional Costs

For all programmes you will need regular access to a computer, email and the internet. However apart from additional costs for text books, inter-library loans and potential overdue library fines we do not anticipate any additional costs for our postgraduate programmes, with the exception of those listed below.


DPharm and Independent Prescribing course
There will be additional travel and accommodation costs (if required) to attend the face to face study days or meet with your supervisor (DPharm only) on these programmes.

We are currently accepting applications for our September 2018 cohort.

In addition to the University on-line application that you need to complete for this course, you are required to complete Forms A-F for your application.


Form A: Patient Orientated Experience
Form B: Clinical Condition Form*
Form C: DMP Nomination Form
Form D: Reference from Employer/Sponsor/Sponsoring Organisation (where applicable)
Form E: Evidence of CPD
Form F: Networks of Support


Please attach your completed forms A-F to the University application form or send directly by post to:


Ms Linda Foster
Postgraduate Programmes Coordinator
Centre for Professional Development and Lifelong Learning
School of Pharmacy
Hornbeam Building
Keele University


If you have any queries relating to the completion of these forms, please contact Linda Foster directly on 01782 734117.

The University on-line application form can be found via the link below (current postgraduate students of the School of Pharmacy at Keele University do not need to complete the online application form):


We look forward to receiving your application.

For the course commencing in September 2018 (Provisional):

  • Tuesday 11th September 2018
  • Tuesday 23rd October 2018
  • Wednesday 24th October 2018
  • Wednesday14th November 2018
  • Tuesday 11th December 2018
  • Wednesday 12th December 2018
  • Wednesday 16th January 2019
  • Wednesday 6th February 2019 (OSCE resit, if applicable)