The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is calling for community pharmacists to be able to routinely prescribe medicines for people with long-term conditions and refer them directly to other healthcare professionals in a report to be launched tomorrow.
'Frontline pharmacists: Making a difference for people with long-term conditions' calls for pharmacists providing direct patient care to have the opportunity to become prescribers. Just 6 per cent (3,319) of registered pharmacists are currently prescribers. A new Cochrane Review has shown that prescribers who aren’t doctors are as effective as regular medical prescribers.
Sandra Gidley, chair of RPS England, said: “Our proposals mean pharmacists, working with GPs, hospital doctors, nurses and patients, will be central to taking on the challenges and improving the care of people with long-term conditions. In light of the funding changes to community pharmacy the RPS is redoubling its efforts to find new roles for pharmacists and ensure they are an integral part of the multidisciplinary team.
“We can’t continue with the current model which doesn’t serve patients well and puts GPs under intolerable pressure dealing with patients who could be treated by pharmacists with the right training. Medicines are central to the care of people with long term conditions and there are some fantastic innovative services out there run by pharmacists which should be the norm so that all patients can benefit from them, not just the lucky few.
Chief Executive of the Patients Association Katherine Murphy said: “It is so important that patients have quick and easy access to care. Being able to speak to a local pharmacist could mean that patients are able to access the right care closer to home or their workplace; completely removing the challenges of booking an appointment with a GP, cutting out waiting times and taking out the worry for many patients who get anxious visiting a surgery."