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Share your views on safe and effective prescribing

30 May 2019

We are currently asking for views on proposed guidance for pharmacist prescribers to make sure they provide safe and effective care when prescribing.

The proposed guidance incorporates information we have gathered over the last three years, including from research we have carried out on issues affecting public safety, feedback from our prescribers’ survey, enquiries sent to us, fitness to practise cases, and our discussion papers and consultations. 

The role of pharmacist prescriber

Pharmacist prescribers play a vital role in the delivery of high-quality healthcare services and can prescribe in many different clinical and therapeutic areas, including hospitals, GP practices, and emergency care.  The number of annotated pharmacist prescribers on the register has significantly increased from nearly 4000 at the end of 2015 to over 8000 in 2019.

Our guidance

The proposed guidance sets out nine key areas that relate to the provision of safe and effective prescribing. The first eight areas are for pharmacist prescribers, to ensure safe and effective care when prescribing:

  1. Taking responsibility for prescribing safely.
  2. Keeping up-to-date and prescribing within your level of competence.
  3. Working in partnership with other healthcare professionals and people seeking care.
  4. Prescribing in certain circumstances.
  5. Prescribing non-surgical cosmetic medicinal products.
  6. Remote prescribing.
  7. Safeguards for the remote prescribing of certain medicines.
  8. Raising concerns.

Section 9 contains information for pharmacy owners and employers of pharmacist prescribers.

Our consultation

Our consultation asks for views on a range of areas including what pharmacist prescribers must do to make sure they prescribe safely for a person; the circumstances in which a pharmacist prescriber can both prescribe and dispense; and any additional safeguards that should be put in place for remote prescribing of certain medicines.

Non-surgical cosmetic medicinal products

An increasing number of aesthetic pharmacists are now prescribing non-surgical cosmetic medicinal products and one of the areas of concern raised with us was around this area. 

Our proposed guidance advises that pharmacist prescribers who prescribe and administer non-surgical cosmetic medicinal products must be appropriately trained. They must only prescribe and administer non-surgical cosmetic medicinal products in line with good practice guidelines, and only after a physical examination of the person has taken place. For this reason, a remote consultation for non-surgical cosmetic medicinal products is not appropriate. 

Prescribing and supplying

Another area of concern raised with us is when pharmacist prescribers both prescribe and supply medicines, for example, in travel vaccination clinics and emergency situations such as out of hours emergency care. We say in the proposed guidance that the pharmacist prescriber should have robust governance arrangements in place and all prescribing must be within their scope of practice, to ensure the person’s safety. When possible, a second suitably competent person should be involved in overseeing the dispensing; this prevents any conflict of interest from self-prescribing and dispensing. 

We want to hear your views on our proposed guidance - visit our main website to read the about the guidance and respond to the consultation survey. The consultation closes on 21 June 2019.

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