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Pharmacist prescribers say public and professionals do not understand role

Pharmacist prescribers say their skills and knowledge are underused because some health professionals and patients fail to understand what they can do, according to the results of a survey published by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) on 7 June 2016.

The survey, which was carried out by the professional regulator between August and October 2015, also found that competition with other prescribers, especially nurse prescribers, can be a barrier to enabling pharmacists to reach their potential in the workplace. Other challenges highlighted include a lack of funding to train in the role and lack of a pay rise once qualified.

Some of the respondents raised concerns that they lacked the clinical assessment skills required to prescribe, despite their training, and were not confident making a diagnosis. Some also acknowledged that gaining the trust and confidence of colleagues was key in terms of allowing pharmacists to develop prescribing skills.

Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, says the survey results will inform its work on regulatory standards and will be shared with commissioners and funders, professional bodies and other stakeholders across Great Britain to ensure that any gaps in support and guidance for prescribers are addressed.

There were 3,944 pharmacists registered as independent prescribers, supplementary prescribers or both on the professional register in November 2015, which represents 8% of the registered pharmacist workforce, according to the GPhC. Of these, 651 took part in the survey, a response rate of 17.4%. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20201269

Readers' comments (1)

  • I wonder what the other 82.6% of our pharmacist prescribers feel about their role. How do we increase engagement within our profession?

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  • Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC

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