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Regulators

Pharmacist prescribing increases by 55% in one year, says healthcare regulator

Pharmacist prescribing increased by 55% in 2018/2019, according to a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report which called for greater use of pharmacists in primary care networks.

In the regulator’s most recent ‘State of care’ report, published on 15 October 2019, the CQC said it was seeing primary care services “trying new, and sometimes innovative approaches to delivering care” through primary care networks (PCNs).

The CQC noted that increased “involvement from community and clinical pharmacists across PCNs can achieve better health outcomes for patients and the local population”, adding that pharmacists’ “contribution to medicines optimisation can improve both the quality and safety of people’s care”.

It added that, in 2018/2019, “pharmacist prescribing increased by 55% over the previous year, although non-medical prescribing still only accounted for 4% of the 1.1 billion items prescribed” that year.

The CQC had previously called for all healthcare and social care providers to have pharmacy staff on their team to improve medicines safety, in a report published in June 2019.

However, the regulator warned in its latest report that patients risk losing continuity of care through PCNs if they “want to see their usual healthcare professional” and asked providers to consider what they need to do “to ensure that they maintain the quality of care as services become more integrated”.

The CQC’s calculations on pharmacist prescribing, based on data provided to them from NHS Business Services Authority, follow its finding that pharmacist prescribing of controlled drugs increased by more than 50% between 2017 and 2018.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207206

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