Research Article

Pharmacy World & Science

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 628-634

First online:

Pharmacists’ changing views of their supplementary prescribing authority

  • Mary P. TullyAffiliated withSchool of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Manchester Email author 
  • , Saima LatifAffiliated withSchool of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Manchester
  • , Judith A. CantrillAffiliated withSchool of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Manchester
  • , Dianne ParkerAffiliated withSchool of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester

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To investigate the views and experiences of pharmacists in England before and after they registered as supplementary prescribers.


Eight pharmacists were recruited from training courses; seven from secondary care and one from primary care and interviewed during training and again after registration. In the first interviews, topics included previous experience, views on current roles, responsibilities and accountability for prescribing and how these might change. In the second interviews, the pharmacists discussed how these had actually changed after gaining supplementary prescribing authority, how their role worked in practice and how they saw it developing in the future.

Main outcome measure

Descriptions of anticipated and actual changes in their roles, responsibilities and accountability before and after registration as supplementary prescribers


The pharmacists anticipated that training would legitimise their current ‘informal’ prescribing practices, with increased legal responsibility and accountability, but experienced many procedural delays in implementing their new role. Pharmacists who were already heavily involved with prescribing were more likely to work as prescribers, but not necessarily within the clinical management plan framework. The desire to maintain the efficiency of their existing clinical services impacted negatively on the pharmacists’ ability or willingness to prescribe in this legally approved manner.


Clear and realistic expectations need to be set by the pharmacists as to what is achievable and greater attention needs to be paid to minimising delays between the end of training and the beginning of practice, to minimise reduction in motivation and redeployment of staff.


Pharmacist opinions Pharmacist prescribing Responsibilities Roles United Kingdom