Pharmacists’ medicines recommendations not being actioned by GPs, study finds

Prescription charges in England are set to increase from £8.80 to £9 as of 1 April 2019, the government has announced.

More than half of recommendations from pharmacists advising changes to prescriptions were not actioned by GPs in the practice, a study has found.

The study, which was presented at the Society for Academic Primary Care’s Annual Scientific Meeting in Exeter on 3–5 July 2019, was a sub-study of the 3D study, a randomised controlled trial (RCT) which looked at the impact of an intervention on patients with three or more long-term conditions and a mean age of 71 years.

As part of the intervention, one of nine pharmacists reviewed patients’ GP computer records, conducted a remote medication review and made up to four recommendations for the GP to discuss with the patient.

The results of the RCT showed that the intervention had no effect on the number of drugs prescribed and the aim of the sub-study was to find out the reasons why.

It aimed to categorise the types of recommendations made by the pharmacists and the reasons for the recommendations; examine what proportion of recommendations were actioned by GPs; and assess whether medication regimen complexity reduced in those receiving the intervention in comparison with usual care.

Overall, they found that of the 76% of patients who had a pharmacist review, for 19% of patients no pharmacist recommendation was made.

The most common recommendations were to stop or reduce a medication (26%), switch a medication within the same class (18%) or review a medication (16%).

However, of the 1,100 recommendations that were made, 218 recommendations were described as being either vague, indirect or a question, and more than half of the ones recommending a change in the number of medications prescribed were not actioned by the GPs.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Pharmacists’ medicines recommendations not being actioned by GPs, study finds;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20206823

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