The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is calling for legislative change to enable any experienced prescribing professional working in a multidisciplinary environment to mentor any healthcare professional learning to prescribe.
The call comes as the RPS launches its first update of the ‘Competency framework for all prescribers’, a framework that has been designed to be used by regulators, professional bodies, prescribing professions and patients to ensure safe prescribing practices.
The RPS argues that a change in legislation to allow prescribing mentors from non-medical disciplines would reduce the burden on GPs and hospitals, as well as increase confidence in existing prescribers.
“The high demand on NHS services, coupled with the move to new roles for pharmacists as part of the greater integration of the professions, is increasing the need for prescribers,” says RPS president Ash Soni. “This would give greater access to the support needed when undertaking a prescribing course.”
Source: Simon Wright Photography / The Pharmaceutical Journal
Catherine Duggan, director of professional development and support and acting director for England at the RPS, says findings from a survey of pharmacist prescribers conducted by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) — the independent regulator for pharmacy in Great Britain — provide insight into prescribing practice. “Not as many prescribers prescribe as we thought,” she says. “The GPhC survey highlights several barriers to prescribing, such as lack of funding and lack of awareness of the role of pharmacist prescribers, but ultimately it comes down to a confidence issue. This change in legislation would enable experienced prescribers to provide the necessary support to their colleagues.”
“We want pharmacists to have equal standing to other prescribing professionals. There is currently a lot of tribalism across professions. We need to work together,” she adds.
The new ‘Competency framework for all prescribers’, the update of which was led by the RPS, aims to support healthcare professionals to be safe, effective prescribers. It can be used by any prescriber to underpin professional responsibility for prescribing and also by regulators, education providers and professional organisations to inform guidance and advice. It will also help patients and carers identify good prescribing practice.