The Council of the GPhC has approved new guidance for pharmacist prescribers to ensure that they provide safe and effective care when prescribing.
The Guidance for pharmacist prescribers covers five key areas that pharmacist prescribers must consider in order to prescribe safely and effectively. These are:
- Taking responsibility for prescribing safely.
- Keeping up to date and prescribing within their level of competence.
- Working in partnership with other healthcare professionals and persons seeking care.
- Prescribing considerations and clinic judgement.
- Raising concerns.
In response to feedback from a public consultation earlier this year, the GPhC has made a number of changes to their initial proposals, including adding further examples of prescribing in different settings and strengthening the guidance in relation to online prescribing of high-risk medicines.
The guidance emphasises that pharmacist prescribers must be able to justify their decisions and use their professional judgement in the best interests of the person receiving care, in all contexts, for example when providing a pharmacy service online or when working as part of a multidisciplinary team in a hospital, or in a community mental health team.
The guidance also sets out when prescribers should consider whether any extra safeguards are needed, for example, when prescribing antibiotics online or medicines likely to be abused or misused such as opioids.
Included within the guidance are a range of key questions that prescribers should ask themselves when prescribing in order to ensure they are providing person-centred and safe and effective care. The GPhC has also included links to other sources of relevant information and guidance, including from other regulators.
As of 20 November 2019, there are 58,085 pharmacists on our register, of which 9,142 are also independent prescribers.
Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC said:
“This new guidance comes at a time when we are seeing rapid growth in the number of pharmacist prescribers working across a variety of settings throughout Great Britain. We have seen the number of prescribers on our register double since 2016. This new guidance clearly outlines what they need to consider in order to provide safe and effective patient-centred care.
“Furthermore, the guidance sets out the responsibilities of organisations that employ pharmacist prescribers, including having risk management and governance arrangements in place to protect patient safety.”