Healthcare professionals who use PGDs must be able to demonstrate a level of competency in achieving safe clinical practice, and this may be demonstrated within an assessment framework. The devised framework for assessment should incorporate set goals for the individual to achieve as well as any professional, personal and ethical considerations regarding their practice. Flint and Scott (2003) have developed their own competency framework for assessing an individual using a PGD, and the framework incorporates practical as well as theoretical issues - these include inclusion and exclusion criteria, information-giving, and, most importantly, the process by which individuals can identify their own learning needs.

Another competency framework tool relating to PGDs has been published by the National Prescribing Centre (NPC, 2004). It is a comprehensive document, and can be adapted to suit local and national needs and guidelines, as well as providing a valuable tool to aid the individual's reflection of practice of using PGDs. Areas discussed within the framework include:

• Clinical and pharmaceutical knowledge

• Establishing options

• Communicating with patients

• Professional standards

• Practice development

• Information in context

• The Team and Individual in context

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