Enhancing Prescribing Education: Key Insights from the PSA Review

The Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) has long been a cornerstone of medical education, ensuring aspiring professionals possess the necessary skills to prescribe medications safely and effectively. Recent developments, particularly the outcomes of the independent Dacre Review, have brought the PSA into focus, prompting a closer examination of its role and impact in prescribing education. In this blog, we explore the significance of the PSA in medical training and dissect the crucial findings from the review, offering valuable insights for prescribing educators.


Uncovering Insights: The Purpose of the Dacre Review

In 2022, the British Pharmacological Society and the Medical Schools Council initiated a comprehensive review of the PSA, aiming to assess its efficacy and chart a course for its future. Led by Professor Dame Jane Dacre and overseen by esteemed representatives from the NHS and medical education sector, the review sought to provide recommendations for enhancing the exam’s relevance and utility.


Highlights from the Review


The findings of the review included several key themes outlined below:


1. Support for the Prescribing Safety Assessment

Stakeholders universally acknowledged the importance of the PSA in preparing junior doctors for the evolving landscape of prescribing. As medical practices and patient demographics evolve, the PSA serves as a vital tool for assessing and bolstering prescribing skills, instilling confidence and competence in future healthcare practitioners.


2. Impact of the Prescribing Safety Assessment

Data from the review underscores the PSA’s effectiveness in evaluating prescribing competency. Across medical schools and regions, consistent performance levels indicate the exam’s reliability. Moreover, evidence suggests a tangible improvement in patient safety since the PSA’s implementation, affirming its role in mitigating medication-related incidents.


3. The Future of the Prescribing Safety Assessment

The recommendations stemming from the Dacre Review outline a transformative vision for the PSA’s future. Emphasising the need for sustained funding, enhanced regulation, and robust governance structures, these proposals aim to fortify the exam’s accessibility, transparency, and accountability. By fostering collaboration among stakeholders, the PSA is poised to evolve into a more refined and impactful assessment tool, ensuring future healthcare professionals are adept at navigating the complexities of modern prescribing practices.


The PSA review heralds a new chapter in prescribing education, marked by innovation, collaboration, and a commitment to excellence. By heeding the insights gleaned from the review, prescribing educators can play a pivotal role in shaping the future of medical training, equipping the next generation of healthcare professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to deliver safe and effective patient care in an ever-changing healthcare landscape.