Independent prescribing

Independent Prescribing enables optometrists to clinically assess a patient, establish a diagnosis, determine the clinical management required and prescribe where necessary.

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Once qualified you may prescribe any licensed medicine (except for controlled drugs or medicines for parenteral (injected) administration) for conditions affecting the eye, and the tissues surrounding the eye, within your recognised area of expertise and competence.

You will be able to prescribe privately and, where suitable arrangements have been made, write an NHS prescription.

To qualify in Independent Prescribing you must:

  • be a registered optometrist
  • have been practising in the UK and registered with the GOC for two full years before beginning the clinical placement
  • train in competencies which focus on the consultation, prescribing effectively and prescribing in context.

Regulations around the Independent Prescribing qualification as a whole are detailed in the GOC IP Handbook below.

 

The three-stage qualification process

1. Attend a course

There are currently five universities offering courses in Independent Prescribing. Contact them directly to find out more.

Aston University
Independent Prescribing course for optometrists 
For more information, contact optometrycpd@aston.ac.uk or visit aston.ac.uk.

City, University of London
Independent Prescribing for optometrists
For more information, contact Michelle Hennelly at m.hennelly@city.ac.uk or visit city.ac.uk.

Cardiff University (provisional approval)
Independent Prescribing for optometrists
For more information, contact PGOptom@cardiff.ac.uk or visit cardiff.ac.uk

Glasgow Caledonian University
Independent Prescribing for optometrists
For more information, contact Gunter Loffler at g.loffler@gcu.ac.uk or visit gcu.ac.uk.

Ulster University
Independent Prescribing course for optometrists
For more information, contact Julie McClelland at jf.mcclelland@ulster.ac.uk or visit ulster.ac.uk
 

2. Undertake a clinical placement

Those undertaking a qualification in Independent Prescribing must complete a clinical practice placement and logbook within a hospital eye service or specialist general practice under the mentorship of an ophthalmologist. You must start the clinical placement within two years of completing the specialist therapeutics course. You then must take the final examination within two years of completing the clinical placement.

 

 

3. The examination

The Therapeutics Common Final Assessment (TCFA) in Independent Prescribing examination takes place in March, June and November each year. The examination comprises of 75 multiple choice questions grouped into patient scenarios. You must take your first attempt at the final examination within two years of completing your clinical placement.

 

 

Essential information

 

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