Australian general practitioners' views on pharmacist prescribing

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Journal Article
Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research, 2008, 38 (2), pp. 96 - 102
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Aim: To explore Australian general practitioners' views on extending prescribing rights to pharmacists, the appropriateness of pharmacist prescribing models, and the influence of general practitioners' characteristics on their preference for a particular pharmacist prescribing model. Method: The study consisted of two parts. Part A was a scenario-based questionnaire using Likert-scale responses and Part B was a semi-structured interview. General practitioners were randomly recruited from two Sydney divisions of general practice. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and qualitative responses were thematically analysed. Results: Completed questionnaires were received from 22/150 general practitioners (response rate 15%), with 10 general practitioners providing additional comments. 10/12 (83%) general practitioners participated in the interviews. Repeat prescribing and prescribing by referral were the most favoured models; 53% of general practitioners rated them as appropriate or somewhat appropriate models of pharmacist prescribing. 6 major themes emerged: focus on safety issues, lack of awareness of pharmacist training and capabilities, division of professional/clinical responsibility, conflict in definition of prescribing versus treating, interference with the general practitioner-patient relationship and remuneration. Conclusion: General practitioners favoured the dependent pharmacist prescribing approach, which is the most widespread practice overseas. The issues raised by the general practitioners need to be addressed before pharmacist prescribing can be pursued in Australia.
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