GPhC survey provides a useful picture of experiences of pharmacist prescribers

A survey of pharmacist prescribers has been published by the pharmacy regulator.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) invited all pharmacist prescribers to take part in the survey to build a rounded picture of prescribing practice, and has now published a report summarising the key findings.

Commenting on the report, Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC, said:

“We’re grateful to the pharmacist prescribers who took part in our survey. What they told us will inform our work on regulatory standards and, I hope, will also provide useful information for a range of other organisations. 

“We’ll share the findings of this report with commissioners and funders, professional bodies and other stakeholders across Great Britain, so that they are aware of the opportunities and barriers for pharmacist prescribers and to ensure that any gaps in support and guidance are addressed. The finding will also directly feed into our future review of education standards for independent prescribing, as well as an important and pressing review into the role of the designated medical practitioner.”

Respondents highlighted that the organisational culture as well as the more immediate environment – for example working in a multidisciplinary team – can play an important role both in enabling and acting as a barrier to prescribing practice. Support and assistance provided by other healthcare professionals and managers was seen to play an important role in pharmacist prescribers’ professional practice. Although most of those who responded to the survey had positive experiences, some had encountered a lack of awareness of the pharmacist prescriber role or because of ‘competition’ between different prescriber roles.

There were mixed views with regards to training, with some respondents having the perception that undertaking practical training within the independent prescribing course in one clinical area could be restrictive, while others valued having a defined scope.

There also appears to be a general agreement that there is already a lot of guidance and advice available to pharmacist prescribers, but some respondents suggested there were further opportunities to enhance access to those resources.

Other findings of the report include:

  • Funding for training as a pharmacist prescriber or to offer services in that role can be challenging and there is a lack of financial incentives in taking on an enhanced role with increased responsibilities.
  • Some respondents expressed a lack of confidence in their clinical assessment skills and felt this could be addressed through greater multi-disciplinary working.
  • Interaction with peers is seen as a powerful tool used by pharmacist prescribers to keep their knowledge and skills up to date.

A copy of the report can be found here.