Background information

In 2016, changes to The Human Medicines Regulations 2012 were passed in government to allows the use of exemptions within the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 by Orthoptists. This change introduces exemptions for orthoptists to sell, supply and administer certain medicines. To use these exemptions, orthoptists must undertake a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) approved post-registration programme and obtain an annotation on the HCPC Register.

The Exemptions module has been approved by the HCPC and will begin with an introductory day in September starting at 9.30am and finishing at 5.30pm, here in Sheffield. Please note that this is the only contact day for the course and that attendance at this teaching day is mandatory. During this day you will receive teaching from a range of professionals including a pharmacist, ophthalmologist and optometrist.

Medicines exempted for use by Orthoptists

These medicines can be categorised into:

Prescription only medicines:

a) Anti-microbials; chloramphenicol, fusidic acid

b) Antimuscarinics; atropine, cyclopentolate, tropicamide

c) Local anaesthetics; Lidocaine with fluorescein, Oxybuprocaine, Proxymetacaine, Tetracaine

Non-prescription medicines either on the General Sales List or Pharmacy only list:

For supply and administration in the course of professional practice, for example phenylephrine 2.5%, sodium cromoglicate, fluorescein and some ocular lubricants.

Places available

We currently have a number of spaces open on this course to students who would like to take this one module as a standalone. The Exemptions module is worth 30 credits and upon successful completion, students will receive a certificate which they can use, if registered as an Orthoptist with the HCPC, to apply to the HCPC to be annotated on the register as able to use Exemptions.

This module is also available to students undertaking the full MMedSci degree and is an option for module three, the first module of the second year. For this reason, both standalone students and MMedSci students will study alongside each other at the introductory day on 14 September 2019. 


In order to undertake this course you will need to first gain the support of a 'primary exemptions tutor'. This is a person who is currently qualified to supply and administer the medicines listed above. Ideally this would be an ophthalmologist or optometrist who you work with within your trust and with whom you have a good working relationship. You will need this person to fill out a 'primary exemptions tutor support form' available to download here: Primary Exemptions Tutor (PET) support form.  Please send the completed and signed form by email to Sheena Coales at the same time that you submit your application. Alternatively you can post it (details can be found on our 'Contact details' page).

Your primary exemptions tutor will need to offer you mentorship and support throughout the course, for example having reflective discussions with you and signing off on any decisions to supply medicines not whilst you undertake the course, that are not already covered by an existing patient group or patient specific directive.

We have produced a primary exemptions tutor handbook which is available to download here: Primary Exemptions Tutor Handbook


Details to follow soon - please check back regularly for updates.


The next course begins with an introductory day on 14 September 2019 and will be completed by end of February 2020.  


The cost of this module is the same as all other standalone modules and is £1250. Please see the fees page for further details. Please see our funding (LBR) page to see if you may be eligible to apply for LBR funding.

How to apply

We have a simple online application form and are open to applications now: Visiting student online application form

Who to contact

If you have any difficulties or questions please get in touch with either our course leader Dr Charlotte Codina or course secretary Mrs Sheena Coales - please click here for our contact details.