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NHS Education for Scotland

A skilled and sustainable workforce for a healthier Scotland

Prescribing and clinical skills

Independent prescribing qualification and development of clinical, consultation and decision making skills underpin competence at the advanced stage of the pharmacist career journey.

*The application process for 2022 NES funded IP places is now closed and all places are now allocated. Additional places released in May 2022 have been allocated to current Health Board waiting lists. Further funded places are expected in Autumn 2022. sign up to NES Mail Chimp to hear about upcoming places*


In collaboration with Health Boards, Community Pharmacy Scotland, Robert Gordon University and University of Strathclyde, we have revised the application process for NES funded Independent Prescribing (IP) places. Places are open to all sectors of pharmacy practice, and are now distributed on a Health Board allocation rather than a first come, first served basis. As a result, requests should be made directly to your Health Board. As part of this NES funding, attendance at consultation and clinical skills training is also required. These skills courses will also be fully funded by NES, and all successful NES funded IP applicants will automatically be offered a place on these courses once they become available.

 Course dates and number of NES IP funded places:

 Robert Gordon University

 Start date: January 2022             Residential/virtual week 2 - 6 May 2022                           85 places

Start date: September 2022        Residential/virtual week January 2023 (date tbc)        41 places

 University of Strathclyde

 Start date: March 2022     Residential/virtual week 6th-10th June and 2nd September          58 places

Start date: June 2022        Residential/virtual week 5th-9th September and 9th December   60 places

Prior to applying for the course, you must have a Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) in place, and seek formal approval from your line manager in relation to:

  • Prescribing being an agreed development need for you
  • The clinical service(s) you plan to deliver as a pharmacist prescriber
  • Release from service for all course dates (including all relevant clinical skills courses) and agreement to support you during the period of learning in practice
  • Release for attendance at a Teach and Treat Common Clinical Conditions (CCC) hub if planning to deliver the Pharmacy First Plus service in Community Pharmacy

Please note the following information:

  1. Data sharing. The details you provide will be shared with NHS Education for Scotland, The University of Strathclyde or Robert Gordon University (as applicable), Dundee Clinical Skills Collaborative, and in the case of community pharmacists with Community Pharmacy Scotland (for remuneration purposes)
  2. Although we will endeavour to provide clinical skills training at your preferred location, these may be subject to change based on availability
  3. By accepting NES funding you agree to attend NES consultation skills and to submit a recorded consultation for peer review; to attend clinical skills training; to attend any other relevant training required for service delivery such as Teach and Treat sessions

Following receipt of your notes of interest to the Health Board, these will be sent to NES Pharmacy to approve funding and will then be shared with your selected University. The University will contact you to complete a full application. If you are a community pharmacist, your details will be shared with Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) to facilitate any employer payments.

Details relating to academic requirements for attending the prescribing course can be found on the University websites     OR

Please be aware when completing the University application, you will be asked to demonstrate you have relevant clinical and therapeutic experience in the area where you are planning to prescribe. This is a current GPhC requirement for admittance onto the IP course.

Additional information is available on the NES website which you are advised to view prior to applying

If you require any additional information please email

Further resources when applying for the Independent Prescribing Course can be found at the TURAS Learn Independent Prescribing: Resources page. This includes information on Designated Prescribing Practitioners.

For those returning to Independent Prescribing Practice, guidance and resources for pharmacists who are PIPs, but have not been practising recently can be found on TURAS Learn Independent Prescribing : Resources page.

Clinical skills

NES organise and run courses to support pharmacist prescribers and those in training to develop appropriate clinical skills, at both core and advanced levels.

From 2021, pharmacists undertaking their Independent Prescribing (IP) certificate will be allocated a place on a five day clinical and consultation skills course spread over a period of 12 months as part of their IP course. These courses are a requirement of your NES funding agreement to undertake IP, however are NOT part of the University IP course and are not required for the IP practice certificate. Dundee Clinical Skills Centre co-ordinate these courses on our behalf. Courses run in locations across the country- Dundee, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverness and Lanarkshire in partnership with nursing and medical schools.

Clinical skills courses for prescriber ready pharmacists and General Practice Clinical Pharmacists are booked via TURAS Learn.

E-learning in preparation for clinical skills is available on TURAS Learn.

Consultation skills

Consultation skills courses will be organised and run by Dundee Clinical Skills Centre. Plans are in place for these to resume from Spring 2021.

Consultation skills resources are available on TURAS Learn. These include information and resources on conducting remote consultations.

Teach and treat

NES Pharmacy in collaboration with several Health Boards have developed Teach & treat centres to support qualified pharmacist independent prescribers (PIPs) working in primary care, who are not using their prescribing qualification. These multi-professional training programmes, led by experienced PIPs help develop appropriate clinical skills to deal with a specific patient caseload.

Last updated: 27/09/2020

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