Are UK pharmacists ready for consultant-level practice? A cross-sectional survey of self-assessed development needs

Paul Forsyth (Lead / Corresponding author), Andrew Radley, Fiona Marra, Debra Roberts, Michele Sehrawat, Matthew Aiello, Jane Brown, Petra Rauchhaus, Stephen Doherty, Rachael Parsons, Joseph Oakley, Christine M. Bond, Susan Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The four nations of the United Kingdom (UK) have endorsed a new curriculum and credentialing process for consultant pharmacists. This study aimed to measure the self-reported consultant-level practice development needs of pharmacists across the UK.

Methods: The study was a cross-sectional electronic survey. Inclusion criteria were: pharmacists registered to practice with the General Pharmaceutical Council; working in any professional sector across the UK; and self-identifying as already working at an advanced level of practice or in an advanced pharmacist role. Participants were asked to rate their confidence that their current practice aligns to the level described in the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Consultant Pharmacist curriculum on a 5-point Likert scale. Predictors of overall confidence with the whole curriculum were analysed using binomial regression.

Key findings: Nine hundred and forty-four pharmacists participated. Median age was 42 years; 72.6% were female. Research skills and strategic leadership skills had low self-reported confidence. Patient-Centred Care and Collaboration was the domain with the highest reported confidence. 10.2% (96/944) of participants self-reported confidence across the whole curriculum. The strongest predictors of overall confidence across the curriculum were advanced clinical practitioner qualification, research qualifications and self-identifying as a specialist. Increasing age and male gender also predicted confidence. White ethnicity and having an independent prescribing qualification negatively predicted confidence.

Conclusion: A small minority of pharmacists self-reported confidence across the whole curriculum. A planned approach to develop research skills across the career spectrum, coupled with better identification of workplace-based experiential strategic leadership opportunities, may help deliver a larger cohort of ‘consultant-ready’ pharmacists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559–566
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Issue number6
Early online date1 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • pharmacists
  • consultant practice
  • advanced practice
  • workforce development
  • competence
  • cross-sectional survey


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