Pharmacist prescriber

What: Specialist pharmacists working in a multi-disciplinary clinical health team trained to prescribe medicines. Diagnosis and overall patient management remains the role of the medical practitioner. Pharmacist prescribers do not usually work in retail pharmacy.

Aim: To use health practitioners to their full capability and improve patients’ access to health services. Prescribers other than doctors include nurse practitioners, optometrists, midwives, diabetes nurses and dentists.

Where: In 2012, the demonstration and initial training intake were funded by Health Workforce New Zealand and jointly run by the pharmacy schools at Auckland and Otago universities.

Training required: New postgraduate certificate in prescribing for pharmacists who have postgraduate qualifications and clinical experience, who then register as prescribers with the Pharmacy Council.

Benefits: The role allows experienced clinical pharmacists to use their extensive training and knowledge of medicines and their management. This means better, sooner and more convenient access to services for patients.

Next steps: A law change means suitably trained specialist pharmacists can become prescribers under the Medicines (Designated Pharmacist Prescriber) Regulations 2013. To be regulated as a prescriber, contact the Pharmacy Council which is responsible for ensuring safe practice. As of August 2016  there were 18 pharmacist prescribers, of which half were working in primary care or between primary and secondary care.

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