CCA Statement: Urgent action required on Designated Prescribing Practitioners (DPPs)

The CCA has been closely following developments regarding changes to the initial education and training of pharmacists that will require all pharmacy students from 2025/26 to complete 90 hours of training with Designated Prescribing Practitioners (DPP) prior to their registration.

We are concerned that pharmacies will be unable to secure DPPs. This will result in a significant reduction in the number of Foundation Pharmacist placements available within the community pharmacy sector. Consequently, a significant number of graduates leaving university next year will, unfortunately, struggle to find employment in their chosen career.

We have repeatedly raised our concerns with NHS England and warned them of the likely consequences arising from the lack of DPPs. NHS England has repeatedly assured us that there are sufficient DPPs within the system. However, we are hearing from pharmacies that they cannot find the DPPs that NHS England says are available.

We know that other trade bodies, such as the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), share our grave concerns about this risk to the pharmacist workforce.

The CCA is now urging NHS England to provide a list of all organisations with available DPPs before placement information is released to students.

The CCA is concerned that if NHS England does not provide pharmacies with assistance in finding DPPs pharmacy businesses will be forced to offer fewer foundation placements than they would like to and have previously provided.

Malcolm Harrison CEO of the CCA said:

“The CCA have repeatedly warned NHS England about the short supply of Designated Prescribing Practitioners (DPPs).

NHS England must take control of the situation and provide a full list of all organisations with available DPPs. We want to avoid a situation where our members are unable to offer placements to pharmacy students graduating in 2025.

This risk to pharmacy graduate placements can be avoided is swift and decisive action is taken by NHS England now. Employers do not want to be forced to remove foundation placements from ORIEL, especially considering the existing workforce challenges and exciting opportunities that Independent Prescribing offers.”

Notes to editors:

  • Designated Prescribing Practitioners (DPPs): DPPs are healthcare professional with legal independent prescribing rights who can supervise a health care professional during their Independent Prescribing course and provide a sign off on their competency to prescribe. To qualify as a DPP Independent prescribers must meet certain criteria such as 3 years of independent prescribing experience and being an active prescriber.
  • How has the Foundation Year for Pharmacy students changed? From September of 2026 all new qualifying Pharmacists will be Independent Prescribers on the day of registration. To make this possible, several changes have been made to the foundation year including that they must complete 90 hours training with a DPP.

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