Despite my confidence today at the time I started the prescribing course the very same concerns and objections that you have raised were running through my mind.
But of course I was a Pharmacist and by nature we are a very cautious and pedantic breed. We do everything by the book.
We play by the rules.
Medicines can be lethal and should be treated with the utmost respect.
I still play by the rules and have never lost that respect which is another reason, perhaps, that makes us good prescribers.
My main worries at the start of the course were the big E and D – Examination and Diagnosis!
When I first qualified as a pharmacist back in 1990 I was a bit squeamish and used to look on the fact that Pharmacists never had to actually touch patients as being one of the perks of the job!
I soon got over this aversion and the Supplemetary Prescriber course did provide formal training in clinical examination and we had to pass some quite rigorous OSCEs.
I actually quite enjoyed that part of the course but to be honest despite prescribing in quite a broad variety of areas, I have still yet to actually physically examine a patient.
I didn’t need to.
The vast majority of patients I saw had an existing diagnosis.
As a prescriber I simply adopted these patients from GPs and took on the responsibility of prescribing for their long term conditions.
I did however train as a phlebotomist mainly to enable me to improve the service I offered to patients I visited at home.
As my role developed I began to find the Supplementary Prescribing restrictions were a burden upon both me and my GP Independent Prescriber colleagues.
I subsequently did an Independent Prescriber course and qualified as an Independent Pharmacist Prescriber.
Pharmacist prescribing can take many forms from Pharmacist led Anti-coagulant clinics in hospitals where Pharmacists simply prescribe warfarin in response to INR results, to more complex scenarios such as in hospices where pharmacist supplementary prescribers can prescribe controlled drugs to treat cancer related pain and other palliative treatments.
In the UK pharmacist prescribers are making a valid and respected contribution to the National Health Service.
In recognition of this The Royal Pharmaceutical Society have bestowed upon us the honor of some more Post Nomial letters!
I hope my brief insight has put to rest some of your concerns.
I obviously have a vested interest in encouraging Pharmacist Prescribing in Australia and I look forward to perhaps helping to develop this role with you.
Pharmacists are highly educated and capable healthcare professionals.
I would encourage you to promote this and the benefits we can provide to the Australian Government.
We are definitely the next best placed professionals to adopt prescribing responsibilities.
Pharmacist Prescribing has been shown to work well in the UK and it can of course work just as well here in Australia?