Pharmacists have had the opportunity to train as independent prescribers since 2006. Since then many pharmacists have achieved the qualification. This is the second in a series of professional dilemmas that will seek to understand how pharmacists would approach certain situations in relation to being an independent prescriber.
In this second dilemma, we focus on the adventures of a pharmacist working in general practice. Our pharmacist has been on the GPhC register for 15 years. For the purpose of this one, he is a community pharmacist who has made the popular move to work in general practice. The dilemma follows this pharmacist as he joins and settles into working in general practice after previously working in a number of roles in community pharmacy.
Our pharmacist successfully passed his independent prescribing course a few years ago. In case you are not familiar with the requirements in this area, we will briefly explain. A pharmacist independent prescriber (PIP) is a pharmacist who has completed the relevant approved education and training to add an annotation to their entry in the register. A PIP may prescribe all medicines independently for any condition within their scope of practice and clinical competence. The exceptions to this are the three controlled drugs used to manage addiction (cocaine, dipipanone and diamorphine) and unlicensed cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs). (GPhC 2019)
As pharmacy professionals, we find ourselves in very privileged positions in terms of how we interact with patients. Patients trust us and as such we must maintain the highest standards of professionalism. With this privilege comes the responsibility to behave ‘professionally’ and uphold the standards expected by the GPhC.
The trouble is life is complicated and on occasion does not play out as the guidance suggests. This dilemma explores some of the themes in this area. It is our hope that it helps you to reflect on your own practice and through the publication of the results you will find out how some of your peers would have behaved in similar situations.
As usual, we have included some interactive polls along the way which we hope you will take part in. However, for the first time, we have included the opportunity to expand on your opinion at each stage. We hope this will serve to be a really useful collaborative learning experience for everyone.
We will publish the results of the polls and the comments next week.
Note: the purpose of this dilemma was to present a case that may occur in practice; for you to consider what you would do if faced with it, and to encourage you to reflect on your decision. The possible answers are examples and are not an exhaustive list of all the potential solutions.