A pilot study run in Scotland has provided evidence that specialist mental health pharmacist independent prescribers delivered quality care to patients with diagnoses of moderate to severe depression and/or anxiety.
The 12-month pilot was implemented in two general practices in remote and rural Scotland. Patients were referred by general practitioners to specialist mental health pharmacist independent prescribers. The researchers wanted to evaluate the pilot service from the perspectives of the patients and the care team.
As part of the study the pharmacists routinely recorded patient-specific data of all clinical issues and their actions at the time of each consultation. Further datasets comprised baseline and follow-up Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and/or Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) rating scales, a patient survey and interviews with members of the care team.
The study involved 75 patients who were engaged in 324 consultations which resulted in 181 prescribing actions. At the completion of the pilot, 45.3% had PHQ-9 and/or GAD-7 scores reduced by 50%. Patient questionnaires and staff interviews generated positive responses.
The authors have indicated that despite the limitations of the study there is potential to translate the pilot model of care to sustained services throughout general practice.
Funding for the pilot service was provided by the Scottish Government’s Primary Care Transformation Fund. Funding for the evaluation was provided by the Highland Pharmacy Education and Research Centre.