Patient safety through quality prescribing: Refreshed Prescribing Competencies Framework now available

NPS MedicineWise, in extensive consultation with key stakeholders in the sector, has led a project to review and refresh the Prescribing Competencies Framework, first created in 2012.

This update will be of interest to anyone involved in prescribing, whether regulators or accreditation bodies, governance boards, educators and education providers, all of whom have an interest in adequately preparing health professionals to prescribe within a quality use of medicines framework.

NPS MedicineWise CEO Adj A/Prof Steve Morris says quality prescribing outcomes and patient safety are critical to all prescribing professions, and the review of the Framework was driven by a need to ensure the competencies would continue to uphold patient safety and quality use of medicines.

“The Prescribing Competencies Framework details the practice expectations for Australian prescribers, including the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to safely and effectively prescribe medicines,” said Mr Morris.

“Maintaining this Framework as contemporary and relevant to the Australian health system is important in supporting patient safety and quality prescribing.

“That’s why over the past two years we have been working with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and an Expert Reference Group, including representatives of regulatory, accreditation and consumer organisations, to undertake a review and refresh to ensure it remains relevant to all stakeholders.

“Since the publication of the original Framework in 2012, prescribing rights have been extended to new professional groups, which places an onus on a broader range of health professionals to contribute to quality use of medicines within their scope of practice.

“As a result, the need for, and value of, a consistent and standard approach to prescribing for all health professionals with prescribing rights is greater than ever. Adequately preparing health professionals to prescribe within a quality use of medicines framework is essential,” he said.

Dr Jill Thistlethwaite, who is a GP, health professional educator and medical advisor at NPS MedicineWise, says the Framework will continue to play a vital role in informing expectations of eligible registered health practitioners in relation to prescribing and quality use of medicines.

“The project to refresh the Framework has ensured the document is contemporary, relevant and fit for purpose in our changing health environment in order to continue to support quality prescribing decisions by all prescribers,” said Dr Thistlethwaite.

Dr Lisa Nissen, Professor and Head of the School of Clinical Sciences at Queensland University of Technology, says the release of the refreshed version of the National Prescribing Competencies provides an updated support for the safe and effective prescribing and use of medicines.

“The new simplified format will enhance the usability for everyone, and provide a strong background and structure for the training, development and ongoing work of prescribers in Australia,” said Dr Nissen.

Extensive consultation with the sector

The review of the Prescribing Competencies Framework was led by an Expert Reference Group composed of members from across the health sector, with representatives from regulatory, accreditation and consumer organisations.

The review also involved extensive consultation from a range of contributors through two stages: a Delphi panel process and public consultation to establish whether the existing Framework was still fit for purpose, accurate, current and reflective of all prescribing professions.

What has changed?

The refresh has ensured the Framework is focused on the aspects of practice considered most important to the prescribing process, while recognising that professionalism and generic competencies expected of prescribers must underpin all aspects of care.

Competencies that reflect contemporary prescribing practice have been strengthened and, in some areas, additional competencies included. The Framework now has a stronger patient-centred approach and a greater emphasis on prescribing-specific competencies.

Mr Morris says he looks forward to seeing the Framework taken up by professional bodies as part of professional standards, education and training.

Find out more

The refreshed Prescribing Competencies Framework is now available on the NPS MedicineWise website at

To read more about the process undertaken to update the Prescribing Competencies Framework, including the Delphi panel process and the public consultation, go to


Media contact

Matthew Harris, NPS MedicineWise Communications & PR adviser: (02) 8217 9229, 0419 618 365 or [email protected]