How a decade has changed the world of pharmacy
It's official: your workload shot up 70 per cent in the past decade. In actual fact, it's probably more than that, with MURs, enhanced services and the endless reams of paperwork that plague pharmacists' daily lives. The 70 per cent figure is just how much the annual number of scripts dispensed in England has gone up since 2000.
It's a shocking rise, and just one of the facts that will startle and amaze (perhaps I'm getting a little carried away) in the latest 10-year review of prescription costs from the NHS, published on Wednesday (July 27). Essentially it's a more formal version of my analysis a few months ago, but some of the extra data is incredible.
Here are some other facts I've pulled out so far.
· The average number of items dispensed per person per year in England is 17.8. In 2000 it was 11.2.
· More than 713,000 specials were ordered last year, at an average cost to the NHS of £194. The most common specials were melatonin, midazolam, colecalciferol and sodium chloride. Omeprazole and simvastatin also made the top 10.
· About 0.6 per cent of prescriptions dispensed in the community were written in hospital, the same percentage as dental scripts.
· The number of prescriptions written by nurses has shot up almost 12 per cent in the past year.
· The number of prescriptions where the patient is charged has almost halved in the past decade, falling from 10 per cent in 2000 to 5.6 per cent in 2010.
· Scripts for drugs prescribed by brand name have risen by 7.1 million items in the past year. The most popular is branded salbutamol, accounting for 2.2m items. This is largely because the branded drug is cheaper than the generic at the moment.
I could go on. The document is well worth a read. For anyone working in pharmacy, it shows the staggering numbers associated with the sector. And, perhaps more importantly, it shows just how much things have changed in the past 10 years.
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