An update on our response to the Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) Independent Review

In August 2023, the Medical Schools Council (MSC) and British Pharmacological Society (BPS) welcomed the publishing of an independent review of the Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA). The review, led by Professor Dame Jane Dacre, focused on how the assessment has impacted education and practice, and how it can be developed to strengthen prescribing knowledge and solidify its place as a valuable and worthwhile assessment.

While the recommendations in the report are welcomed, it is acknowledged that some of the ambitions will require further, long-term consideration. The current priority for medical schools remains ensuring that the Medical Licencing Assessment (MLA) is introduced effectively. To ensure both the MLA and PSA are complimentary, the MSC and BPS will explore how the PSA can be aligned in light of the introduction of the MLA. Following discussion with medical schools, it is has been agreed that universities will remain responsible for choosing whether the assessment is used as a progression requirement or whether it is used as a non-progression exam. Nonetheless, passing the Prescribing Safety Assessment will be mandatory for all newly qualified doctors as it remains an exit requirement for Foundation Year One.

There is consensus among medical schools that the PSA is an important measure of prescribing competence and is a useful and high-quality exam. This is also evidenced by a recent study by Magavern et al, which found that the PSA is a good test that measures how prepared someone is to prescribe. With its usefulness clear, the Medicial Schools Council and the British Pharmacological Society look forward to working together with medical schools and colleagues in the sector to use the PSA to ensure the doctors of tomorrow are safe and competent prescribers.

Published: 09 Jan 2024 in News