RPS calls for pharmacists to have greater powers to ensure access to medicines

We're calling for medicines legislation to be amended so that community pharmacists can make changes to prescriptions which minimise unnecessary delays in providing patients with their medicines.

In the event of a medicine being unavailable, the proposed amends would allow pharmacists to make changes to the strength and formulation dispensed, or to supply an equivalent generic version of a medicine on a prescription, without having to contact the prescriber every time. This would improve access to treatment for patients and reduce your workload and that of GPs. Making such changes is already common practice in hospital settings, and in community settings in Scotland.

RPS President Sandra Gidley said: “We fully support pharmacists to use their professional judgement to put patients first and manage these changes to prescriptions. Covid-19 has seen an emphasis on pharmacists being empowered to do the right thing for patients.

“Pharmacists in hospital, and in community pharmacies in Scotland, can already routinely make these alterations to prescriptions for the benefit of patients. All pharmacists should be allowed to minimise the impact of medicine shortages on patient care.

“At a time when primary care services are under enormous pressure, it’s right to address this imbalance. We want the UK Government to introduce greater flexibility and improve access to medicines by enabling community pharmacists across Great Britain to make these simple changes.”

The call is part of the RPS submission to the Health Select Committee on COVID-19 and pharmacy, which the Committee has published on its website.