Safe Prescribing - Information for Foundation Doctors

STFS SCRIPT User Guide 2016.pdf316.79 KB
OpenAthens information - South London v3.pdf445.51 KB
2017 Trust Prescribing Assessment Plans_FINAL.pdf271.8 KB
2017 BNF Familiarisation Questions_FINAL.pdf351.32 KB


Prescribing is one of the most common medical interventions with 500, 000 prescriptions being prescribed in UK hospitals every day, many of which are by foundation year 1 doctors. However it is widely recognised that prescribing errors are commonly made, particularly by new medical graduates. The incidence of this is reported in the EQUIP study which found that of 50,016 orders written by this group of trainees, there was an error rate of 8.4%, with 5.25% being classed as serious and 1.89% as potentially lethal. The 2008 Health and Social Care Act includes the regulation that in order to protect patients against the risks associated with the unsafe use and management of medicines, there should be appropriate arrangements for each of the processes involved. In order to meet the regulations, it is necessary for NHS Trusts to be able to demonstrate that employees have the appropriate skills and competencies, including being able to prescribe safely and effectively.

Supporting Foundation Doctors develop their prescribing skills 

STFS trainees will be supported to develop their prescribing within foundation year in a variety of ways including: 

       • Prescribing assessment
       • SCRIPT
       • Local prescribing training


KSS Prescribing Assessment

The KSS prescribing assessment was designed with 2 purposes: Firstly to ensure that newly employed foundation doctors are competent to prescribe safely and secondly to identify any additional training and support required to enhance prescribing skills.

The assessment consists of 2 aspects:
      • Multiple choice assessment (electronic - available via SCRIPT below) 
      • Practical written assessment

Details regarding the practical written assessment for incoming F1’s can be found in the 2017 Trust Prescribing Assessment Plans document (available to download from the right-hand side of this page). This document outlines each trusts plan for training and assessing incoming F1s.

Please note the use of phones within the assessment is permitted to allow you to access the BNF and a calculator. Trainees are expected to come to the assessment with a fully charged phone, with the BNF app fully downloaded (if using window phone access to the BNF online - please check Wi-Fi access prior to the day).

Trainees can be involved in reviewing the assessment by attending the Prescribing Assessment Group - if you are interested please contact your local trust prescribing lead.




SCRIPT is an innovative e-Learning programme that provides trainees with a series of modules to explore prescribing and therapeutics. SCRIPT is an easily accessible web based programme comprising of over 40 modules, divided into 7 units covering competencies defined by the GMC and those required within the Foundation curriculum. The modules contain interactive videos, graphics and exercises. Each module is expected to take 30-90 minutes to complete.

Each foundation doctor is expected to complete 6 modules a year. You can access the South Thames Foundation School clone of SCRIPT here:

More information can be found in the STFS SCRIPT user guide (available to download from the right-hand side of this page).

All incoming foundation doctors should undertake the "STFS Prescribing Multiple Choice Questions" during their induction.

Local prescribing training

In addition to SCRIPT trusts may offer prescribing training as part of the teaching schedule. These sessions will be tailored to the training requirements of the trust and will include local policies and guidelines that must be followed.

BNF Application

All trainees undertaking the prescribing assessment are required to have access to the BNF application. To access this all foundation doctors require a NHS Open Athens account. The healthcare libraries networks create accounts for STFS foundation doctors. Details of your local healthcare library and more information on Open Athens accounts including terms and conditions can be found in the Open Athens Information documents.

For trainees who have never used an BNF app or are unfamiliar with the BNF website the prescribing assessment group have created BNF Familiarisation Questions (available to download from the right-hand side of this page) for trainees to work through at their own pace.

Contact us

For further information on  the Prescribing assessment and other safe prescribing initiatives, contact  Kumud Kantilal STFS Prescribing Lead via email

The Prescribing Safety Assessment

From 2016 all Foundation Doctors are required to successfully pass the Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) by the end of their first year of training. Trainees who successfully completed it at medical school will not be required to repeat it (unless it was passed more than 2 years before the start of foundation training).

Trainees who have passed the PSA will still be required to undertake a practical prescribing assessment on induction, as this tests the application of prescribing using local drug charts and prescribing systems.

Information on the PSA in foundation can be found on the UKFPO website.