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Independent Prescribing

Practice guidance for advanced paramedic independent prescribers in the safe use of medicines 

This is the first edition of the College of Paramedics practice guidance, which is aimed at independent and supplementary prescribers. The information within the practice guidance will support prescribing activity and decision-making by prescribers in order to promote safe and effective patient care. 

Independent prescribing by advanced paramedics comes into effect from 1 April 2018, pending changes to legislation and the provision of annotation to professional registration. Initially, this will be limited to medicines that are not controlled drugs, until the relevant legislation is also updated.

The following practice guidance provides information that should underpin the decision-making and actions of advanced paramedics who in future become annotated with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as independent and supplementary prescribers. Please note that independent prescribers are also supplementary prescribers, which, although uncommon in paramedic practice, is included in the practice guidance.

This document is published as guidance. ‘Guidance’ is defined as information which a paramedic has a duty to consider, and is expected to take into account as part of their decision-making process.
This document provides advice on the behaviours and conduct expected of paramedics who are annotated on the HCPC register as an independent prescriber. The practice guidance should be read in conjunction with the Implementation Guidance, and the Outline Curriculum Framework (published by the AHPF – see links section)

Important definitions and terms

  • Throughout the guidance, the use of the word ‘must’ indicates a legal and/or regulatory requirement and describes a mandatory action and/or behaviour.

  • The use of the word ‘should’ indicates behaviours and/or actions that would be expected to occur in all normal circumstances.

  • If a paramedic prescriber deviates from the guidance in this document, the clinical judgment for so doing should be carefully recorded.

  • You should comply with this guidance, other guidance issued by the College of Paramedics, and with any statutory requirements applicable to your prescribing practice.

  • Failure to do so may put your HCPC registration at risk if concerns are raised about your fitness to practise.


Other key College of Paramedics Documents relating to Prescribing
  • A Guide to Implementing Paramedic Prescribing within the NHS in the UK.


Key Documents, Resources and Further Reading relating to Prescribing

Allied Health Professional Federation. (2017). Outline Curriculum Framework for Education Programmes (Prescribing). Available: www.ahpf.org.uk/files/Online%20Curriculum%20Framework.pdf. Last accessed January 2018.
Department of Health. (2012). Human Medicines Regulations (2012). Available: www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/1916/contents/made. Last accessed January 2018.
Health & Care Professions Council. (2013). Standards for Prescribers. Available: www.hcpc-uk.org/assets/documents/10004160Standardsforprescribing.pdf. Last accessed January 2018.
NHS England. (2013). NHS (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013. Available: www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/349/introduction/made. Last accessed January 2018.
NHS England. (2015). The National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts) Regulations 2015. Available: www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/1862/contents/made. Last accessed January 2018.
NHS England. (2015). NHS (Personal Medical Services Agreement) Regulations 2015. Available: www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/1879/contents/made. Last accessed January 2018.
NHS England. (2015). NHS (Charges for Drugs and Appliances) Regulations 2015. Available: www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/570/contents/made. Last accessed January 2018.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society. (2016). A Competency Framework for all Prescribers. Available: www.rpharms.com/Portals/0/RPS%20document%20library/Open%20access/Professional%20standards/Prescribing%20competency%20framework/prescribing-competency-framework.pdf. Last accessed January 2018.



Future Publications

Practice guidance for advanced paramedic independent prescribers in the safe use of medicines (2nd edition) – All AHP groups will work to align their practice guidance later in 2018 or early 2019

Practice Guidance for all Paramedics (to include exemptions and other mechanisms) – Expected late 2018