An increase in the number of pharmacist prescribers will help ease pressures on the NHS as well as increasing job satisfaction for pharmacists, says Sandra Gidley, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board. Her comments follow the publication of a consultation document — describing changes to the supervision of pharmacists training to become prescribers — by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).
The discussion paper, published by the GPhC on 30 November 2016, proposes that, in the future, the right to supervise those training to be pharmacist independent prescribers would be extended to pharmacist prescribers and other experienced prescribers. Currently, pharmacists wanting to become independent prescribers must undertake additional education and training, which includes being supervised by a designated medical practitioner in practice.
“We were surprised, but delighted, to see this consultation,” says Gidley. “Our recently launched campaign on long-term conditions calls for pharmacists to be able to become designated medical practitioners. This will enable more pharmacists to find an appropriate supervisor and, as a consequence, increase the number of pharmacist prescribers.”
Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, says the consultation was launched to address the developing evidence around the role of pharmacists as prescribers. “We welcome feedback on our proposals, which will inform a wider review [in 2017] of the standards for the education and training of pharmacist independent prescribers,” he says.
The GPhC is inviting feedback on the consultation until 1 February 2017. However, a final decision on the proposals will only be taken once a full consultation on revised education and training standards for independent pharmacist prescribers in 2017 is completed.