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HCPC publishes new standards for prescribing

20/08/2013 - 09:00

New prescribing standards published

The Health and Care Professions Council has today published new standards of prescribing. This follows recent amendments to the medicines legislation that extends independent prescribing to appropriately trained chiropodists / podiatrists and physiotherapists.

Chiropodists / podiatrists and physiotherapists are now eligible to train to become both independent and supplementary prescribers, whilst radiographers remain eligible to train to become supplementary prescribers only. Professionals with either qualification must have their entry annotated on the HCPC Register in order to prescribe.

The HCPC has developed the new standards for prescribing, which apply to both independent and supplementary prescribers, in line with these changes.

The standards set out HCPC’s expectations of education providers delivering prescribing training and the knowledge, understanding and skills a registrant must have before prescribing.

Michael Guthrie, Director of Policy and Standards at the HCPC, said:

“To ensure that the new standards support safe and effective prescribing practice, we looked at a variety of sources on prescribing during the drafting process, including standards and frameworks set by other regulators.

“We then held a three-month consultation with stakeholders, whose input has further informed the new standards we have published today. We are grateful to all stakeholders for the feedback we received.”

The HCPC will begin work to approve programmes delivering training in independent prescribing and will be contacting all education providers affected by the new standards. Following HCPC approval, it is anticipated that the first programmes will be available in 2014.

The standards for prescribing can be found online here:


Notes to Editors:

1 All media enquiries to Angie Scarlett-Newcomen on +44 (0)20 7840 3480 or email

2 An analysis of consultation responses and the HCPC’s decisions as a result are available on the HCPC website: 
3 Supplementary prescribing is a voluntary prescribing partnership between the independent prescriber (doctor or dentist) and supplementary prescriber (chiropodists / podiatrist, physiotherapist, radiographer) to implement an agreed patient-specific clinical management plan (CMP). Supplementary prescribers must only prescribe a medicine where it is referred to in the CMP.

4 Independent prescribing is prescribing by an appropriately qualified practitioner responsible and accountable for the assessment of patients with undiagnosed or diagnosed conditions and for decisions about the clinical management, including prescribing. Independent prescribers can prescribe any medicine for any medical condition within their competence without reference to a CMP.

5 Education providers who already deliver HCPC-approved supplementary prescribing programmes will be able to apply to deliver approved conversion and full independent / supplementary prescribing programmes through an amended approval process. Any new education provider wishing to deliver an independent prescribing programme will need to complete the full approval process as usual. More information on the HCPC’s education approval process can be found here:

6 The HCPC is an independent, UK-wide health and care regulator set up by the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001. The HCPC keeps a register for 16 different health and care professions and only registers people who meet the standards it sets for their training, professional skills, behaviour and health. The HCPC will take action against people who do not meet these standards or who use a protected title illegally.

7 The HCPC currently regulates the following 16 professions. Each of these professions has one or more ‘protected titles’. Anyone who uses one of these titles must register with the HCPC. To see the full list of protected titles please see: 

• Arts therapists
• Biomedical scientists
• Chiropodists and podiatrists
• Clinical scientists
• Dietitians
• Hearing aid dispensers
• Occupational therapists
• Operating department practitioners
• Orthoptists
• Paramedics
• Physiotherapists
• Practitioner psychologists
• Prosthetists and orthotists
• Radiographers
• Social workers in England
• Speech and language therapists

Angie Scarlett-Newcomen
+44 (0)20 7840 3480

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