, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 628-634
Date: 23 Mar 2007

Pharmacists’ changing views of their supplementary prescribing authority

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Abstract

Objective

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

Method

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

Results

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.

Conclusion

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.