A member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called for independent prescribers to be recognised with post-nominals.
RPS member Nahim Khan, senior lecturer at the University of Chester, raised the suggestion during the 2019 RPS Conference, held in London on 17 November 2019. He was speaking at #RPSYourSay, a debate session chaired by Sandra Gidley, president of the RPS.
Khan said that the wider pharmacy profession, other healthcare professionals and patients need “a coherent message about pharmacist prescribing”, given that pharmacist prescribing had increased by 55% in 2018/2019.
He noted that a survey of pharmacists, conducted in 2011, supported the idea of pharmacist prescriber post-nominals, and asked for views on appropriate post-nominals, saying that there needed to be a “renewed effort” to explore this.
Stephanie Bancroft, locum pharmacist and lead for RPS North West London, responded that these pharmacists currently have no additional post-nominals at all, unless they are members of the RPS.
“I think we should work towards being noted as members of our profession, and if we have additional qualifications they can be added,” she said. “Doctors and nurses are recognised; why not pharmacists?”
Speaking during the session, Martin Astbury, vice-chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, said he agreed with Khan’s suggestion, and Suzanne Scott-Thomas, chair of the RPS Welsh Pharmacy Board, added that it is important to be clear on the purpose of such a post-nominal.
“Who are post-nominals for?” she asked. “Us, other healthcare professionals or patients?”
Jonathan Burton, chair of the RPS Scottish Pharmacy Board, said that “right now, I have no strong opinion” on the proposal: but added that “I do put [independent prescriber] after my name sometimes, if writing a note that will be read by a GP or other healthcare professional — as a courtesy to the colleague I am writing to”.
A vote on the proposal showed that a clear majority of session attendees were in support of Khan’s suggestion.