A major prescribing skills assessment pilot is underway in 11 medical schools in Australia and New Zealand, delivered in partnership with BPS Assessment.
The project aims to measure the effectiveness and suitability of an assessment based on the UK Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) for final-year medical students. It builds on a 2017 pilot scheme which assessed over 1,500 students from nine medical schools. With the University of Otago and the University of Queensland joining the 2018 cohort, student numbers are expected to be even higher this year.
Exams started in May and will continue until early December, with students sitting a two-hour, 60-question paper. The assessment has been reviewed and localised by a group of Australasian experts from each participating school.
ASCEPT (the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists) and its members have been very supportive in promoting the assessments. The Australian Medicines Handbook team has provided the technical support required to enable the use of their online formulary by candidates. The New Zealand Formulary has provided support for the participating New Zealand medical schools.
Associate Professor Claire Harrison from Monash University, who is leading the Australian iteration said:
“This assessment represents a significant collaboration between Australasian institutions and BPS Assessment. Medication errors are a global challenge and educating new doctors in prescribing skills is one of the key ways to tackle it. Like BPS Assessment, I believe that assessment drives learning so I am delighted to be involved again this year and look forward to seeing the results.”
BPS Assessment Ltd is the assessment and elearning business of the British Pharmacological Society. Its mission is to drive improvement in medication safety worldwide through knowledge assessment and learning.
2018 Australasian pilot participating medical schools:
University of Auckland
University of Newcastle
University of New South Wales
University of Otago
University of Queensland
University of Sydney
University of Tasmania
University of Western Australia
Western Sydney University