The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is considering producing its own guidance for pharmacist prescribers as it expects the role to develop with the profession’s increasing clinical responsibilities.
As a first step, the regulator will look at existing guidance already published by health regulators for other prescribers, such as nurses, dentists and doctors, to see whether it can adopt their advice.
The GPhC also wants to discover any common issues raised about pharmacist prescribers that it would need to include in any new guidance.
The move comes as the profession needs to decide whether prescribing should become a core part of pharmacy training in the future, says GPhC chief executive and registrar Duncan Rudkin. “That debate is yet to be had but already in Scotland there is a move in that direction in terms of pharmaceutical care,” he says. “There is also the question of how far and how fast we should go towards that – it’s about balancing that aspiration with what is doable.”
Another issue that has to be addressed is whether pharmacists are using their new prescribing skills in practice once qualified, he adds.
A GPhC survey of the profession in 2014 revealed that only 61% of pharmacist prescribers had prescribed in the previous 12 months and, of those, 40% prescribed for five patients or fewer in a typical week.
The decision to look at developing guidance was given the go-ahead by the GPhC’s council at its meeting on 5 February 2015.