Evolution of the CPD System for Pharmacists in Ireland

Under Section 7 (1)(d)  of the Pharmacy Act 2007, one of the principal functions of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) is to “ensure that pharmacists undertake appropriate continuing professional development, including the acquisition of specialisation.” 

At that time, the Irish Centre for Continuing Pharmaceutical Education (ICCPE) was the mechanism by which continuing professional development for pharmacists was delivered, in line with the agreement in 1996 between the Department of Health & Children and the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), to support delivery of high quality community pharmacy services to the public. In 2008, the Management Committee of ICCPE, in consultation with the Health Service Executive (HSE), commissioned a review to look at the future direction of the Centre. The report from this review can be viewed here.  

In 2010, PSI commissioned PA Consulting Group to undertake a Review of International CPD models. PA’s Report can be viewed here. This identified the following vision for a CPD system for pharmacists in Ireland.  

Vision for a CPD System

  • A system that assures competency across the profession to meet patient needs and demonstrates this competency to others
  • A mechanism to allow for innovation and development in the role of the pharmacist
  • A supportive, enabling and transformative system that meets personal and professional needs
  • A flexible, user-friendly and contemporaneous system that is recognised by pharmacists as helping to support the way in which they practice their profession
  • A system that rewards learning by professionals and provides accreditation that is recognised internationally
  • A system that encourages and supports engagement with other healthcare professionals

In 2011, PSI issued an Invitation to Tender for the Establishment of an Institute of Pharmacy Managing Body, which can be viewed here. The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) was awarded the tender and contracted to deliver the service 2013-2018. The IIOP was established in August 2013.  

In 2017, PSI commissioned Crowe Horwath Consulting to undertake a Review of Current Outsourcing Arrangements with respect to the Irish Institute of Pharmacy. The Crowe Horwath Report can be viewed here

In 2018, PSI issued an Invitation to Tender for Provision of the Outsourced Management and Operation of the Irish Institute of Pharmacy which can be viewed here. RCSI was awarded the tender and contracted to deliver the service 2018 – 2021, with an option to extend for a further two years. This option was exercised, extending the contract to 2023. Two further one-year extensions were sought by PSI and these were facilitated by RCSI. The current contract expires in 2025. 

In 2022, RCSI appointed a panel of external experts to undertake an Internal Quality Review of Irish Institute of Pharmacy, in fulfilment of its statutory responsibility to undertake regular quality review of internal functions. The Quality Report and the associated quality improvement plan from this Review can be viewed here (PDF download).

In 2023, PSI commissioned Mazars to undertake a Review of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Model for Pharmacists in Ireland. The Mazars’ Report was published in January 2024 and can be viewed here.  

In March 2024, IIOP responded to PSI’s request for a written submission to support PSI’s review of the Pharmacy CPD Model. The IIOP’s response can be viewed here. 

PSI provide public updates on their review of the CPD Model for pharmacists on their website, which can be viewed here. During 2024, a process of implementing the recommendations within the Mazars report will begin, including any legislative changes that will be needed to underpin the changes to the model. There will be a number of opportunities for interested stakeholders to provide their input as the changes to the model are being progressed, including the opportunity to provide feedback on the public consultation which will be undertaken as part of changes to the CPD and/or registration rules. 

Progress on the implementation of the recommendations will be updated on this webpage, as well as being communicated widely with registrants through the PSI Newsletter and direct email communications to registrants, as appropriate. 

An overview of the history of the IIOP 2010 – 2022 was developed by the IIOP Advisory Group in 2022, and is available here.