Independent Prescribing in Community Pharmacy – the Pathfinder Programme

NHS England has, published information on its Independent Prescribing Pathfinder programme for community pharmacy, having this week sent a letter to all integrated care boards (ICBs) on this topic.

Information on a new Independent Prescribing webpage describes how the programme of pilot sites will operate. The central aim is to support and test different prescribing models to help inform and develop the framework for the commissioning of independent prescribing as part of clinical services in community pharmacy.

The scope for pathfinder sites will be determined by ICBs and the letter from NHS England follows the expression of interest submissions made in January 2023. NHS England plans to include up to 210 community pharmacy sites across the 42 ICBs in the Pathfinder programme so that each ICB can participate.

ICBs will work with community pharmacy teams to identify those that will join the programme. It will also involve collaboration with other NHS bodies, local authorities and community organisations involved in delivering joined up care.

Visit the NHS England page on Independent Prescribing

Commenting on the programme, Director of NHS Services, Alastair Buxton, said:

“The launch of the pathfinder sites is a really positive development, particularly with each ICB now being allowed to participate in the programme.

“The programme will allow the NHS and community pharmacy to work through the practical and professional issues which need to be addressed before independent prescribing can be embedded in day-to-day practice and within the NHS contractual framework.

“Independent prescribing will be at the heart of many of the future services community pharmacists will provide, which are envisaged in the Vision for the sector which Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund have been developing for Community Pharmacy England. We are really excited about how independent prescribing will be used to support the further development of community pharmacy services, ensuring the clinical skills of community pharmacists can be maximised, to the benefit of their patients and the NHS.”