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Pharmacists Advanced Training

Advanced practice describes a level of practice after foundation training and before consultant level practice. Advanced practitioners are educated to master's level and will have additional qualifications and/or a portfolio to demonstrate their contributions to patient care, the safe and effective use of medicines and other professional achievements. The pharmacist will practice autonomously and be able to manage complex situations, supporting patients, their families and others in the multidisciplinary team in medicines optimisation. The pharmacist will lead and develop services, negotiate and influence key stakeholders and develop those attributes in others. For examples of the different roles for advanced practice pharmacists please download our information sheet.

Advanced Pharmacy Practice

There are different routes to advanced practice after foundation training; some pharmacists will undertake a diploma or master's degree in their specialist clinical area, for example oncology or cardiology. Others may choose a course that supports generalist advanced practice rather than specialist advanced practice. There are also courses designed specifically to support pharmacists working in general practice surgeries. Demonstration of competence and value added to patient care is most easily achieved using the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Advanced Pharmacy Framework (APF). There are many resources available to be used in parallel with the APF including Expert Professional Practice (EPP) Curricula for specific clinical areas, providing more detail to the APF and Handbooks for community pharmacy and GP training.

There are four pillars supporting advanced practice
•    Clinical practice
•    Leadership 
•    Education and training 
•    Research and evaluation

Clinical Practice

Clinical practice is the largest element of any role with advanced pharmacists supporting patients with medicines optimisation in a variety of clinical settings. For example, this could be in a general practice surgery, a community pharmacy, in a patient’s home or in a hospital setting. Pharmacists will usually be an independent prescriber and able to proactively manage patients’ medicines, working together with the patient and members of the healthcare team to ensure the patients gets the most benefit from their medicines.

Some pharmacists may complete their non-medical prescribing as an optional module within their post-graduate diploma. For more information on non-medical prescribing please visit our NMP web page. The RPS has a series of ultimate guides to support pharmacists working in a variety of settings, including medicines optimisation, community pharmacy, care homes, hospital pharmacy and urgent and emergency medicine. These signpost to resources to support practice.

There are a variety of Masters courses that provide training in advanced practice or advanced clinical knowledge for a specified clinical area or healthcare setting. Some more specialist clinical courses are only provided by a few centres so may not be available within Yorkshire and the Humber. The list below is not exhaustive but provides examples of relevant courses at the correct academic level. Examples include:

Emergency medicine: Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Specialist Training in Emergency Medicine (ASTEM) 

Cardiology: MSc Cardiology    Oncology: MSc Clinical Oncology    Critical Care: MSc Critical Care

Paediatrics/Neonates: Masters Certificate of Professional Development in Medicines Use in Paediatrics and Neonates

Professional Pharmacy Doctorate 

A number of Universities provide a professional Doctorate programme that supports development of advanced pharmacy practice and consultant pharmacist practice.  These programmes are usually completed over 4-6 years part time study after a post-graduate diploma and require the pharmacist to provide evidence of practising at Mastery level of the APF and complete a significant research project.

Doctorate in Pharmacy DPharm Bradford University (not available for 2017). Other providers are Keele, Birmingham, Aston and Portsmouth Universities.

General Practice Pharmacist

Advanced Pharmacy Practice (Primary Care) PG Diploma

GP Pharmacist Training Pathway CPPE


There are many different leadership qualifications available and the best choice will depend on the prior learning and experience of the pharmacist. For more information on the programmes available please visit our Leadership Development page.

Education and Training

Please visit our Supporting Educators and Learners web page for more information.

Research and Evaluation

Pharmacists may apply to add a third year to their diploma after completion of their Foundation Training and General Level Framework to convert it to a MSc qualification. The third year will focus on quality and service improvement and may involve completion of a research project. Please see below the links to the MSc courses provided by Bradford and Leeds Universities.

Clinical Pharmacy Secondary Care MSc

Clinical Pharmacy Community MSc

Advanced Pharmacy Practice (Primary Care) MSc

Pharmacy Practice MSc

Pharmacy Practice with Prescribing MSc

Further research qualifications may be gained via MSc, Dpharm or PhD programmes

Consultant Level Practice

The term Consultant Pharmacist, in the NHS, refers to a pharmacist who has been appointed to an NHS post which is approved according to the Department of Health for England 2005 Guidance for the Development of Consultant Pharmacist Posts. The guidance describes the role of the Consultant Pharmacist, which is distinct from other pharmacy roles. The aim of the role was to provide patients with access to high level expertise from practitioners leading the profession, through practice, research and teaching, in their specialist area. More detail on the role and examples of job descriptions are available in the Consultant Pharmacist Toolkit from Specialist Pharmacy Service.

Consultant Pharmacist posts have been designed to support medicines optimisation, improving patient care by providing clinical excellence in specific areas of practice and strengthening professional leadership. The posts provide a dynamic link between clinical practice and service development to support new models for delivering patient care.

For more information on the difference between Advanced Clinical Pharmacists and Consultant Pharmacists please download our information sheet.

Further Information

Our team is working on gathering more information for this section. If you would like to contact us please email medicinesoptimisation.yh@hee.nhs.uk

Funding and Course Finder

For more information please email the team at: medicinesoptimisation.yh@hee.nhs.uk

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Non-Medical Prescribing

Courses in the region which offer pharmacist prescribing are funded by HEE through Universities within Yorkshire and the Humber

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