Supporting enhanced practice and patient centred health care through independent prescribing by Allied Health Professionals.
The Postgraduate Certificate in Medicines Management (Independent and/ or Supplementary Prescribing) is a part-time, web-dependent programme, developed with the aim of preparing suitably qualified Allied Health Professionals for the extended roles of access and supply of drugs under exemption order, Patient Group Directives, Independent and Supplementary Prescribing (Physiotherapy and Podiatry) and Supplementary Prescribing (Radiography).
The programme comprises two compulsory thirty credit point modules; Pharmacotherapeutics in Prescribing and Prescribing in Practice; in combination leading to the award of Postgraduate Certificate in Medicines Management and the professional award of Independent and/or Supplementary Prescribing (for those professions eligible). The two modules are usually taken over a one year period. The programme runs from September to December (Module 1: Pharmacotherapeutics in Prescribing) and January to May (Module 2: Prescribing in Practice) each year.
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Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, and Radiographers have been able to prescribe as Supplementary Prescribers since 2005. Two joint formal consultation by the Department of Health and the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on proposals to further introduce Independent Prescribing rights to Chiropodists/Podiatrists and Physiotherapists in 2011 led to the development of The Human Medicines Regulations 2012, resulting in Independent Prescribing rights being extended to these health professions from August 2013.
Non- medical prescribing underpins achievement of the goals identified in Equality and Excellence: Liberating the NHS (Department of Health 2012) by the development of new roles and service delivery to improve patient outcome. Independent and Supplementary prescribing by Health Professionals improves patient access to services, enables early intervention reducing hospital admissions and improves discharge outcomes following hospital stay by improving the transition from acute to community care.
Independent prescribing by Physiotherapists and Podiatrists has been demonstrated to support patient-centered care by enhancing partnership working across professional and organisational boundaries, enabling the redesign of care pathways that is cost effective, maximizes benefit to the patient, enhances professional autonomy and is sustainable.
Supplementary Prescribing is used most often in chronic disease management where the initial diagnosis has been made by an Independent Prescriber and continued care is paramount (for example in the case of administration of radiotherapy, or the case of clinical research trials). Direct benefits to the patient are an improvement in patient care, better use of Allied Health Professionals and Medics time, clarification of professional responsibilities leading to improved communications, the provision of a holistic and autonomous service by non-medical professionals, greater concordance and improved understanding by patients of their pharmacological management.
This part time, web-dependent programme has been developed with the aim of preparing suitably qualified Allied Health Professionals for the extended role of Independent and/ or Supplementary Prescribing in accordance with legislative eligibility. Completion of the programme also provides the training elements required for Allied Health Professionals working under patient group directives and will qualify the applicant for the professional entry of Prescriptions Only Medicine Certification on the Health Professions Council register where eligible.
Students are required to attend and engage with ALL face to face teaching sessions and clinical placement hours associated with the programme. Students MUST demonstrate that placement activity is carried out and attendance meets requirements specified in the Prescribing Practice Portfolio (Minimum requirements: 90 hours attendance in clinical prescribing practice for Independent and / or Supplementary Prescribing).
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
Learning methods employed by the Postgraduate Certificate in Medicines Management are:
Participation in face to face and online didactic-style lectures, enhanced by the use of e-learning tools such as discussion boards and Camtasia
Private study, initially guided by required reading and then extended to recommended and independent reading
Preparation and presentation of case based assignments using a range of media
Participation in online discussion and tutorials
Design, execution and analysis of a range of methods of enquiry
Exploration, acquisition and analysis of patient/ prescribing data
Listening and note-taking
Observation, analysis, practice and evaluation of prescribing skills within a real life environment
Managing one’s learning as an individual and as a team member
Articulating the relevance of learning for one’s own personal and professional development
Online lectures, where used, tend to be more didactic and participative in style than the more common use of the term ‘lecture’. Online workshops, tutorials, the use of computer assisted learning, and the value placed in the contribution of expert practitioners, lecturers and professors further reflect the principles in operation. Group and team work is, on the whole, a key feature of the learning and teaching in this programme, reflecting on finding solutions and working as agents of change for better service and patient experience.
Tutorial work and online discussions have a central place within the Medicines Management programme which is organised around case based practical role play and group work that requires progressively more independent thinking.
Teaching is underpinned by current discipline specific and pedagogic research and scholarship. This is evidenced by involvement of members of the Institute of Nursing and Health Research Institute, Centre for Health and Rehabilitation Technologies (CHaRT) and Centre for Higher Education Practice in planning and delivery of modules.
Synoptic (case based) examination, multiple choice examination and numeracy skills assessment are undertaken during the designated University examination periods. Professional Portfolio submission is required at the end of module 2 on completion of clinical practice elements. A detailed examination in prescribing practice will be under- taken by the medical mentor during clinical practice and forms part of the modular portfolio requirements.
Teaching, learning and assessment
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10, 20, or 40 credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate courses typically 15 or 30 credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Teaching and learning activities will be in-person and/or online depending on the nature of the course. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessments. This feedback may be issued individually and/or issued to the group and you will be encouraged to act on this feedback for your own development.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification, the assessment timetable and the assessment brief. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised. The module pass mark for undergraduate courses is 40%. The module pass mark for postgraduate courses is 50%.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Figures correct for academic year 2022-2023.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 60% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (19%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (22%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic and learning support staff (85%) are recognised as fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advance HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2022-2023.
Belfast Campus Location
The Belfast campus is situated in the artistic and cultural centre of the city, the Cathedral Quarter.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
This module provides the necessary pharmacological knowledge within the context of the underpinning pathophysiology that will enable the healthcare professional to prescribe safely, appropriately, and effectively within a collaborative health care team.It will be offered through a blended combination of e-learning, taught components and threaded discussion with supported group work.Assessment is by a combination of coursework and a synoptic examination.
Prescribing in Practice
This module will prepare Allied Health Professionals to undertake an active role in non medical prescribing within their specified area of practice. The legislative framework and professional and ethical principles, which underpin prescribing practice, are explored.
(i) an Honours or non-Honours degree in Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Diagnostic or Therapeutic Radiography from the University of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, ’or from a recognised national awarding body or from an institution of another country which is recognised as being of an equivalent standard; or
ii) an equivalent standard in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate or an approved alternative qualification; and
b) provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent);
c) provide evidence that they meet the DH entry requirements for Independent and/ or Supplementary Prescriber training
or as an alternative to (a) (i) or (a) (ii) , (b) and (c):
(d) In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a Prescribing Practice Portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for the exemption against modules within the programme.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 7.0 with no band score less than 6.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Those who have undertaken the Prescription Only Medicines (POM) annotation training at level 7 within the preceding three years may apply for exemption from the ‘Pharmacotherapeutics in Prescribing’ module via the APL system, awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution, provided that they shall register as students of the University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of the award at the highest level in respect of a Master’s award and at least 50% of the credit value of the award in respect of a Postgraduate Diploma or Certificate award.
The Postgraduate Certificate in Medicines Management delivers a range of learning experiences to enable students across and between multiple disciplines to enhance their knowledge and skills, encourage critical thinking, creativity and strategic planning in Independenet and/ or Supplementary Prescribing within their professional field, thereby enhancing employability. Students applying for this programme are expected to already be following a distinct career pathwaywith the opportunity of progressing in that pathway through the extended prescibing and leadership skills attained.
Work placement / study abroad
Placement is central to the development of the safe prescriber and the educational input and support of a designated/ approved General/ Medical Practitioner is crucial to the development of the necessary competencies.
For students undertaking the full Postgraduate Certificate programme, placement is organised by the student in negotiation with the employer and Medical Practitioner, and in consultation with the University of Ulster. Clinical placement across the two modules is a minimum 90 hours. Placement is a compulsory part of this programme during which students develop their clinical skills, under the supervision of a Medical Practitioner, to be able to undertake their new role safely.
The placement setting will typically be the workplace for each student. Proposed Medical Practitioner’s will be expected to sign a declaration of eligibility (in accordance with the Department of Health’s eligibility criteria) prior to a student being accepted onto the programme. In cases where students cannot gain the skills required in their place of work, the main objective will be to seek the experiences within another suitable environment.
Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of providing eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as an Independent and/or Supplementary Prescriber.
Fees and funding
The price of your overall programme will be determined by the number of credit points that you initiate in the relevant academic year.
For modules commenced in the academic year 2023/24, the following fees apply:
NB: A standard full-time PGCert is equivalent to 60 credit points per year. A standard full-time PGDip is equivalent to 120 credit points per year.
Additional mandatory costs
It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.
There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.
Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.