Pioneering UK learning system adopted by Canadian medics to support medication safety

BPS Assessment is providing vital support to physicians in Canada, with the introduction of its pioneering learning technology aimed at ensuring safer prescribing techniques.

The agreement between BPS Assessment, the online learning arm of the British Pharmacological Society, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Royal College), aims to address the risk of medication errors and therefore improve public health. The World Health Organization estimates the annual cost of such errors to be over $42 billion USD worldwide.

The new assessment and learning technology offered by BPS Assessment will provide prescribing skills modules for Royal College Fellows, and give them the chance to sit an exam based on the principles of the UK Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA)*, which is already taken by UK medical undergraduates. The program, which will start in early 2019, following a substantial trial between the Royal College and BPS Assessment.

As part of the partnership, physicians will have access to online prescribing skills modules in Canada’s official languages (English and French), tailored for the needs of the Canadian healthcare context.

“These modules align with our priorities to provide our Fellows with engaging, relevant content to keep up to date on skills needed for treating patients in the 21st century,” said Dr Andrew Padmos, Royal College CEO. “We’re proud to be partnering with BPS Assessment to create solutions to this complex problem.”

Further, Royal College Fellows will be offered the opportunity to contribute to the question-writing process for the modules, which will help to customise the platform for the Canadian medical community.

“It’s timely that we’re launching this tool during Canadian Patient Safety Week. It’s a subject that resonates with physicians across all specialties and we’re pleased to provide this tool to help with their lifelong learning,” said Dr Susan Brien, Director of Research, Innovation and Scholarship at the Royal College.

By supporting prescribers with a rich online learning environment, the Royal College and BPS Assessment together aim to reduce the human and financial risks caused by incorrect prescriptions and by errors in guidance given to patients.

Jonathan Brüün, Managing Director of BPS Assessment, arrived in Ottawa during Canadian Patient Safety Week to sign the five-year deal. He commented:

“We’re delighted that the Royal College in Canada is joining counterparts in the UK, Asia and Australia in adopting our unique assessments. We believe this collaboration will provide a significant boost to improving standards in the safe administration of medicines, which we understand to be at the forefront of every prescriber’s mind. BPS Assessment is committed to improving public health and patient safety, and to helping physicians maintain their skills and standards. Our online training offers a unique contribution to those objectives. We can’t wait to get started.”

For more information please contact:

David Adams

Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications, British Pharmacological Society
Work: +44 20 7239 0180
+44 7786 552498

Melissa Nisbett

Senior communications specialist, Communications and External Relations
T: 613-730-8177 ext. 426
Cell: 613-218-9570


* The Prescribing Safety Assessment is the competency-based assessment to support safe and effective prescribing sat by UK medical graduates. It is delivered in partnership with MSC Assessment.

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. It announced its initial pilot with the Royal College in May 2017.

The British Pharmacological Society is a charity with a mission to promote and advance the whole spectrum of pharmacology. Founded in 1931, it is now a global community at the heart of pharmacology, with around 4,000 members from more than 60 countries worldwide. The Society leads the way in the research and application of pharmacology around the world through its scientific meetings, educational resources and peer-reviewed journals.

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada is the home of specialty medicine in Canada, setting the standards for postgraduate medical education, supporting the continuing professional development of 50,000+ Fellows and affiliates, and supporting health system innovations nationwide. To find out more, please visit

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