GPhC welcomes overprescribing report

The Government has published a review into overprescribing led by the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England, Dr Keith Ridge.

Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council, said:

“This important report sets out changes which will help improve how medicines are prescribed for patients. We look forward to working with the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England and his team, as well as the new National Clinical Director for Prescribing and other relevant regulators, to take forward its recommendations.

“Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and the wider pharmacy team in all settings are already working closely with prescribers and with their patients to help make sure that people get the right medicines, at the right time, in the right doses. 

“The report recognises that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians across England will also have a vital part to play in taking forward the actions outlined to improve patient care.  We know there is also work underway in Scotland, as outlined in the Achieving excellence in pharmaceutical care strategy and in Wales as part of delivering A healthier Wales long term plan, to help make sure that patients only get the medicines they need.

“As this report highlights, pharmacists are increasingly taking on greater responsibilities for helping to make sure that patients get the most appropriate treatment for their needs, including through working as independent prescribers. 

“We are working with stakeholders to introduce major changes to the initial education and training of pharmacists, so that in the future all pharmacists joining our register will be independent prescribers from the point of registration.  We will also shortly begin a consultation which proposes changes to enable more pharmacists already on our register to begin training as an independent prescriber at an earlier stage.

“The report also highlights that there will be further demand for pharmacy technicians with the skills and knowledge to help deliver the report’s recommendations. We will work with key stakeholders to consider how the education and training of pharmacy technicians needs to develop to meet this demand and the future needs of patients and the public.

“This review proposes system-wide changes to improve the use of patient records, which we fully support. It is essential that pharmacists working in all settings, including community pharmacy, can both access and update patient records, to make sure everyone involved in the patient’s care knows what medicines they are taking. We are considering what further work we can do to support improvements in the quality of record-keeping in pharmacies.

“We also fully support the focus in this review on shared decision-making with patients and the public on starting or stopping a medicine, as well as making sure that patients have all of the information they need about their medicines.  We emphasise the importance of this happening in our standards and guidance for pharmacy professionals, to support person-centred care.”

Read the Overprescribing Review [PDF 848 KB]