Prescribing Competencies Framework Review


Like many developed countries, Australia is home to an expanding prescribing workforce. Currently, multiple professions are eligible to prescribe medicines within their recognised scopes of practice. Quality prescribing outcomes and patient safety are critical to all prescribing professions.

The NPS MedicineWise Competencies Required to Prescribe Medicines (the Prescribing Competencies Framework), published in 2012, details the practice expectations for Australian prescribers, including the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to safely and effectively prescribe medicines. 

The Framework plays a vital role in informing both the prescribing practice expectations of eligible registered health professionals and the prescribing curriculum, as recommended by the Health Professionals Prescribing Pathway (HPPP) Project.1 

The importance of maintaining the Framework as a relevant standard for all prescribers is clear. NPS MedicineWise has asked Queensland University of Technology (QUT) to work with us to review the Framework.


Project aim

The project aims to review and update the Framework to ensure it remains relevant to all prescribers. 

This will involve obtaining feedback from current users and relevant stakeholders representing multiple sectors, and leveraging insights previously gained by QUT from the Assessment of Prescribing in Health (ASPRINH) project.


Project method

The project will employ a two-staged approach to review and update the Framework. 

Stage one involved a Delphi method2 to gather feedback about the existing Framework, with a focus on the key evaluation indicators (see Box 1). Feedback has now been used to develop an updated draft of the Framework.

Key evaluation indicators

  • Does the Framework accurately describe all aspects of practice required to prescribe safely and effectively?
  • Are there areas in the Framework that may be considered redundant or repetitive?
  • Are there aspects of prescribing practice that are not currently reflected in the Framework?
  • Is the language used in the Framework accurate, current and reflective of all prescribing professions?

Stage two involved a public consultation with a broad stakeholder group to seek feedback about the updated draft Framework.


Project governance and timeline

The project has been supported by an Expert Reference Group of representatives of regulatory, accreditation and consumer organisations. 

This group has ensured the review is undertaken with a fair, balanced and inclusive approach and that all relevant perspectives are considered. A small working group of NPS MedicineWise and QUT representatives will undertake the review in consultation with the Expert Reference Group.

Members of the Expert Group are:

Steve Morris (Chair)
CEO, NPS MedicineWise
Chris RobertsonAustralian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
Margaret GatlingAustralian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council
Anne TonkinChair, Medical Board of Australia
Brett SimmondsChair, Scheduled Medicines Expert Committee
Bronwyn ClarkeChair, Health Professions Accreditation Collaborative Forum
Diane WalshConsumer representative
Geoff McCollChair of the Australian Medical Council’s Medical School Assessment Committee
Mike StephensNational Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
Peter DonovanChair of the Clinical Pharmacology Special Interest Group ASCEPT

The project commenced in March 2019 and is expected to conclude in the first quarter of 2021.

If you have any questions or require further information about the Prescribing Competencies Framework or the review process, please contact Stakeholder Relations & Policy Adviser Daniel Pignatiello via [email protected]

  1. Health Workforce Australia. Health Professionals Prescribing Pathway (HPPP) Project – Final Report. Adelaide: Health Workforce Australia, 2013.