A “highly-trained pharmacist prescriber” under the governance and supervision of a managing GP would be “an additional valuable resource in the community”, the ICGP has stated.
Responding to questions from the Medical Independent on the future role of community pharmacists in Ireland, a College spokesperson added: “If care is shared with GPs and is guided and directed by the GP, then a pharmacist prescriber would add to the community support team for patients. Pharmacist prescribers would require extra training and thorough and comprehensive guidelines and protocols in order to ensure patient safety and wellbeing.”
The College also issued a positive opinion on a potential minor ailments scheme in pharmacy, subject to certain conditions being met, which is a departure from a previous standpoint communicated in 2016.
“Community pharmacists already treat several minor ailments, such as minor coughs and respiratory infections and some skin infections, amongst other ailments, and this of course helps to reduce pressure on the hospital emergency services and on other parts of the health service,” stated a College spokesperson earlier this month.
“A community pharmacist-provided minor ailments scheme would require clear guidelines, protocols and governance structures, as well as training of pharmacy support staff.”
Future Pharmacy Practice in Ireland, published by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) in 2016, recommended that the “existing role that pharmacists play in supporting patients treating minor and self-limiting conditions in the community should be further expanded”.
The report also stated that mechanisms should be explored to enable pharmacists and GPs to work more closely together to support patients in chronic disease management. To date, the IMO has strongly opposed the extension of pharmacists’ practice into areas of healthcare delivered by GPs.