Pharmacists have criticised comments that the Government plans to give pharmacists the right to prescribe, calling them ambiguous and potentially misleading.  

Several nationals and media outlets have reported on Government plans to give pharmacists the right to prescribe in a bid to liberate GPs’ time. 

Both pharmacists and pharmacy bodies alike have hit back at the comment claiming it to be misleading for public perception of what the pharmacy sector does. 

First reported in the Sunday Times yesterday (10 October), the health security, Sajid Javid, allegedly plans to introduce ‘sweeping reforms’ to boost the number of patients who can see their GP in person.   

As part of this, Mr Javid is planning on giving pharmacists the ‘right to prescribe,’ the Times said in its headline.   

Pharmacists on Twitter have said the comments suggest that they do not currently have the power to prescribe. 

However, as of May 2020, there were 8,806 registered independent prescribers in the UK, according to data sourced by the Pharmaceutical Journal. This means that at least 20% of pharmacists in the UK can already legally prescribe medication.  

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health and social care secretary, also tweeted about the misleading coverage.

In response to the comment, Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive officer of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) said: ‘The remarks by the Government are ambiguous and potentially misleading and do not commit to a workforce of prescribing pharmacists within our sector’.  

She added: ‘If we are to truly address the bottlenecks and demand pressures within primary care then the pharmacy network must be centre stage to meeting the huge demand in the post-Covid world. The secretary of state needs to ensure that prescribing pharmacists are modelled around our network where they are needed and can make the difference.’ 

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has written to the Sunday Times to clarify the role of pharmacists. 

The Department of Health and Social Care and the Times have been contacted for comment.