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PJ Online | News: Dermatology report endorses pharmacist prescribing

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The Pharmaceutical Journal
Vol 268 No 7195 p557-561
27 April 2002

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Dermatology report endorses pharmacist prescribing

An inquiry into primary care dermatology services has indicated strong support for pharmacist prescribing. Findings from the inquiry, carried out by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Skin, were published last week.

The report recognises that many patients with skin diseases consult a pharmacist in the first instance. Many treatments for skin diseases, such as emollients and mild topical corticosteroids, are relatively benign agents that have important clinical effects. The report recommends that pharmacists with appropriate training should be given the authority to write repeat prescriptions, to vary prescriptions within certain categories of treatment, and to prescribe such treatments themselves. The authority to vary prescriptions is particularly important for emollients, where finding the one that suits a patient best can be a considerable boost to compliance.

The group supported the reclassification of some medicines, including topical steroids, from prescription-only to pharmacy medicine status, as a way of enabling the public's access to more potent treatments for commonly occurring skin conditions. Access to information and advice from pharmacists at the point of purchase will be an important feature of such developments, it says.

A recurring theme of the report is the lack of training and training opportunities in dermatology for all health care professionals and recommendations are made throughout the document to improve this situation. In addition, it says that patients would benefit greatly from the development of a national service framework for diseases of the skin. Standards of dermatology services in primary care vary throughout the United Kingdom, and it remains one of the (four) specialties with the highest number of long waits.
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