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Supplementary and Independent Prescribing for Physiotherapists, Chiropodists/Podiatrists and Therapeutic Radiographers

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This course will enable you to assess patients' needs for medicines through effective consultation.

On completion of the course you will able to prescribe safely, appropriately and cost effectively as well as demonstrate extensive knowledge of drug actions and apply these principles to prescribing practice.

This unit is available at Level 7.  

See more course details.

Key information

Next start date:

September, October, November, December 2018, January, February 2019


Bournemouth University, Lansdowne Campus


Eight taught days and 14 days of distance learning


Health & Care Professions Council

Entry requirements:

Qualified health care professionals working in a relevant practice area.

Accredited by:

Course details

During this course, you will enhance your consultancy skills as well as study the latest theory and research behind clinical pharmacology, clinical governance and prescribing patients.

The course is normally delivered over 8 taught days (attendance is mandatory) and the equivalence of 14 days distance learning utilising the Emap health care online open learning materials.

You will need to negotiate and undertake the equivalence of 12 days clinical practice under the supervision of a designated medical practitioner. Learning and teaching will take place in both the university and in practice. Lectures will be followed by question and answer sessions and analysis of case examples.

You will cover the following content:

Consultation, decision-making and therapy including referral models of consultation:

  • Accurate assessment, communication and consultation with patients and their carers
  • Concepts of working diagnosis or best formulation
  • Development of a management plan
  • Confirmation of diagnosis – further examination, investigation, referral for diagnosis
  • Prescribe, not to prescribe, non-drug treatment or referral for treatment
  • Able to work with patients and clients as partners in treatment.

Influences on and psychology of prescribing patient demand versus patient need:

  • External influences, for example companies/colleagues
  • Patient partnership in medicine-taking including awareness of cultural and ethnic needs
  • Conformance – normalisation of professional prescribing behaviour
  • Achieving shared understanding and negotiating a plan of action.

Prescribing in a team context:

  • National and local guidelines, protocols, policies, decision-support systems and formulae
  • Rationale, adherence to and deviation from
  • Understand the role and functions of other team members
  • Documentation, with particular reference to communication between team members
  • Auditing, monitoring and evaluating prescribing practice
  • Interface between multiple prescribers and the management of potential conflict
  • Budget/cost effectiveness
  • Issues relating to dispensing practices
  • Reviews diagnosis and generates treatment options within the clinical management plan
  • Able to refer back to medical practitioner when appropriate
  • Proactively develops dynamic clinical management plans.

Clinical pharmacology including the effects of co-morbidity:

  • Pharmacology, including pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics
  • Anatomy and physiology as applied to prescribing practice
  • Basic principles of drugs to be prescribed – absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion including adverse drug reactions, interactions and reactions
  • Patient compliance and drug response
  • Impact of physiological state in, for example the elderly, the young, pregnant or breast-feeding women, on drug responses and safety.

Evidence-based practice and clinical governance in relation to prescribing:

  • National and local guidelines, protocols, policies, decision support systems and formulae – rationale, adherence to and deviation from
  • Continuing professional development – role of self and organisation
  • Management of change
  • Risk assessment and risk management, including safe storage, handling and disposal
  • Clinical supervision
  • Auditing and systems monitoring
  • Identifying and reporting ADRs and near misses
  • Drug calculations.

Legal, policy and ethical aspects legal basis, liability and indemnity:

  • Legal implications of advice to self-medicate including the use of complementary therapy and ‘over the counter’ medicines
  • Safe keeping of prescription pads, action if lost, writing prescriptions and record keeping
  • Awareness and reporting of fraud
  • Drug licensing and monitoring
  • Yellow card reporting to the Committee of Safety on Medicines
  • Prescribing in the policy context
  • Manufacturers’ guidance related to literature, licensing and ‘off label’
  • Ethical basis of intervention
  • Informed consent, with particular reference to client groups in learning disability, mental health, children, the critically ill and emergency situations
  • Principles of supplementary and independent prescribing and application to practice.

Professional accountability:

  • Accountability and responsibility for assessment and prescribing
  • Maintaining professional knowledge and competence in relation to prescribing
  • Accountability and responsibility to the employer.

Prescribing in the public health context duty to patients and society:

  • Policies regarding the use of antibiotics and vaccines
  • Inappropriate use of medication including misuse, under- and over-use
  • Access to health care provisions and medicines
  • Numeracy for prescribing practice.

Download the unit specification.

This unit requires approximately 200 hours to complete which will include lectures, seminars and self-managed learning. In addition to the taught sessions (approximately 30 hours), you will spend a minimum of 90 hours engaged in direct practice in your own clinical area, where you will be allocated a clinical supervisor.You will also be required to undertake further study to complete the learning outcomes of the unit and assessment which is the equivalence of approximately 80 hours, and you should negotiate this additional student-managed time on a personal basis with your line manager. This additional 80 hours is further experience with your designated medical practioner, 7.5 hours will be with a child physiotherapist and the remaining hours will be made up with other prescribers who will not necessarily all be in the same field. 


Our CPD unit fees have already been discounted based on our Employers’ Scholarship Scheme, as such these units are not eligible for the Early payment discount and BU graduate discount.   

Entry requirements

Normally students may enter postgraduate study (level 7) if they have been awarded:

  • Undergraduate degree (honours or non-honours)
  • An equivalent qualification (the learning outcome of which are demonstrably appropriate in terms of knowledge, understanding and skills) equivalent to 120 credits at Level 6.

If you do not meet this criteria you are still able to apply for this unit but we may ask you to complete a Study Skills handbook to familiarise yourself with academic writing at Master's (degree) level. The Study Skills handbook will be sent to you when we have received your application form.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements, for this course are normally:

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our international entry requirements page.

Fees and funding

Fees for 2017/18 are £2,000

For individuals

You will need to pay or indicate employer support of payment for unit or course fees to the university.

Applicants working within the NHS or other healthcare providers may be eligible for support with funding from their employer through the Learning Beyond Registration contract with the NHS South of England.

Applicants should contact their employing organisation for further details.

Information if you are self-funding

If you are funding the course or unit yourself or your employer is sponsoring you outside a contractual agreement, you will need to apply directly to the university.

Once you have been accepted onto a unit or course, you will be sent a payment form which must be completed and returned on or before enrolment. The form requires that payment be made in one of three ways:

  • By cheque for the full amount made payable to ‘Bournemouth University’
  • By giving details of a credit or debit card
  • By invoice to your employer or other sponsoring organisation.

Full details of the invoicing address and the name, signature and position of an authorised person must be provided. Please note that invoices cannot be raised for you if you are paying the fees.

It is possible for you to pay your fees in installments and fees must be paid either by credit or debit card.

For employers

Pre-purchased places

The Faculty of Health & Social Sciences has contractual arrangements with NHS organisations for pre-paid places on specified modules including NHS South of England. If you work within Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire or the Isle of Wight you may be able to access the pre-paid places. These arrangements allow NHS Trusts to nominate the staff they wish to send on each unit or course.

The pre-arranged agreements allow individuals, such as yourself, a route to access appropriate professional development opportunities that are seen as strategically important to your organisation (in consultation with your Line Manager/Education Co-ordinator). Applications for these places are dealt with through your Line Manager/Education Co-ordinator and they will arrange for you to complete the relevant paperwork and application form. All application forms for pre-paid places must be signed by your organisation’s Education Lead.

How to apply

In the first instance you should talk to your Line Manager/Education Co-ordinator to understand if there are any contractual arrangements in place and whether your chosen course or unit of study can be funded via this route.

If this situation applies to you, you must submit your completed application form via your Line Manager/Education Co-ordinator, who will forward it to the University.

If you are funding the course or unit of study yourself or your employer is sponsoring you (outside any contractual arrangement), please submit your completed application form directly to the university.

You can download an application form by clicking on the ‘apply now’ icon above. Simply fill it in and return it to us.

Please note: In some cases, we may ask you to provide additional references but we will advise you of this once you have submitted your application form.

Please contact our Future Students Enquiry Team if you have any questions. 

Career development

We have a range of individual units at Levels 5, 6 and 7 available which you can choose from to develop your skills in a specific area of practice. If you take further units of study you can begin to build your own qualification and gain an academic award for your work, depending on your level of study this may be:

  • BSc/ BSc (Hons) Professional Practice (level 5/6)
    If you have a Diploma or Advanced Diploma you can take this course to top-up to a full degree
  • MA Advanced Practice (level 7)
    If you have an honours degree and are aspiring to be an advanced practitioner, this route enables you to work towards a Master's degree award. Depending on how many level 7 units you complete, you can exit with a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Practice.

These options provide a flexible route to gaining a bachelor’s or Master’s degree by studying in more manageable ‘bite-sized’ chunks.

Additional information

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