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Government eyes overhaul of who can prescribe and how to dispense

DH: Professions to benefit from extended prescribing powers will be subject to consultation
DH: Professions to benefit from extended prescribing powers will be subject to consultation

The government wants power to expand the range of health professionals who can prescribe low-risk medicines, as well as develop “innovative ways of dispensing”.

One of the main elements of a proposed Medicines and Medical Devices Bill – referred to in the Queen’s Speech yesterday (October 14) and expanded on in a government briefing document – is: “Enabling the government to increase the range of professions able to prescribe low-risk medicines to make the most effective use of the NHS workforce, as well as developing more innovative ways of dispensing medicines, where recommended by scientific experts.”

The Department of Health and Social Care (DH) told C+D that the professions who will benefit from this extension of prescribing powers, and which low-risk medicines will be included, will be subject to public consultations.

However, it pointed to pharmacists delivering flu vaccines under patient group directions as an example of how “similar powers have been used in the past”.

Expanding prescribing powers “will ensure patients are able to get medicines from the most appropriate healthcare professional for their situation quickly and pressure is reduced on the wider NHS workforce”.

“This includes exemptions that allow some professionals to administer specific medicines for immediate necessary treatment,” said the DH, which pointed to paramedics administering pain relief in emergencies as another example.

All further details of the proposed powers will be informed by “public consultations, drawing on the expertise of clinicians and medical experts”, it told C+D. More information will be “released in due course”.

Another element of the bill would be “ensuring patient safety by implementing a scheme to combat counterfeit medicines entering supply chains and a registration scheme for online sellers”, the DH said in the briefing document.

Would you like prescribing powers to be extended?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Respectfully, I believe you are underestimating the ability and potential of a Pharmacy Technician. In my opinion, alongside industry-standard and approved training, Technicians are in a fantastic position to deliver a variety of PGDs.

May I suggest APTUKs previous statement on Pharmacy Technicians supplying PGDs for some reading around the subject, and it answers some of the common challenges against supplying them with an expanded role.

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Yes Leon, I read the other day that some Boot's techs had been squirting the nasal flu 'jabs' up kids' noses! So anything is possible. 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Absolutely Angela; some skills are not complicated. One could have a system in place to allow clinical screening of patients to be handed over to staff to administer. 

Mohammed Zeeshan, Locum pharmacist

The vast majority of technicians have no a-levels,have no degree,may not even have 5 GCSE. What abilities do they have apart from on the job abilities. They have a niche set of a skills. We should just train all technicians to become brain surgeons.great!!!!!!

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Best Pharmacy Manager I ever met was an MCA. Before that, they were a pub landlord. Formally though, didn't achieve much in the way of certificates. Never seen such mastery of people, both pharmacy staff and patients, in all my life and one of the wisest people I have the pleasure of knowing.

Respectfully Mohammed, your opinion is benighted regarding Pharmacy Technicians. If you believe that it is simply a matter of making Technicians more educated, you should be championing evolving the Pharmacy Technician course; perhaps we could turn it into a degree? It's been done before with other health professionals, so it would not be unreasonable for it to be considered feasible for other professions, would it?

Your comments remind me of the fable of the tortoise and the hare. My advice would be to never underestimate someone, they may just surprise you with what they are capable of doing!

Katherine Wright, Pharmacy technician

I have 10 GCSEs A*-A, 5 A Levels, a BA(Hons) and a MA, as well as a PGCE qualification... And I also trained as a pharmacy technician, and then trained as an ACT in an NHS hospital... You shouldn't judge a book by its cover Mohammed Zeeshan!

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

May I ask, with those qualifications, why are you wasting yourself as a tech? I'm not being facetious, I genuinely think you could do so much better.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Retraining is a difficult path for anyone over the age of 21. UCAS has a fantastic article regarding this.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Absolutely Katherine, go from strength to strength! The unity and passion for improvement within the Pharmacy Technician community is inspiring and worth emulating.

Nicola Jones, Accuracy checking technician

I'm a tech, and i have 3 a levels #justsaying

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I know a Technician who knows the BNF inside out, it's actually quite impressive their thirst of knowledge and self-attainment.

You could spell DUDE with their A-Levels though.

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

Sad. In community she'd be offered £8.50 an hour.

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

I know a dispenser who knows the Drug Tariff inside out. I think she may actually be a god. You couldn't spell anything with her A levels because she has none and I think her O levels couldn't spell any five letter word at all. All quite bizarre really. 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

It's almost as if Mohammed's comments have no importance to them!

Mohammed Zeeshan, Locum pharmacist

how!!!!!! Why!!!!


Marc Borson, Community pharmacist

Mohammed you were told to work hard at school get to university and you would have a great career in pharmacy. So you now think you entitled to a fat pay check from the gov. You are wrong life is a game. To win you have to learn how to play. You have been played mate, please realise this and change career.

Beta Blocker, Primary care pharmacist

Absolutely correct... life is a game.


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