People in North Devon could be amongst the first to have their pharmacist prescribe and monitor their treatment instead of a doctor, after two pharmacists from the North Devon District Hospital were in the first 26 in the UK to achieve this new type of qualification.
Northern Devon Healthcare Trust would like to congratulate Frances Goodhind, Principal Pharmacist Clinical Services (pictured left) and Suzanne Bishop, Senior Clinical Pharmacist (anticoagulants and paediatrics) – (pictured right). Between them they run the anticoagulation service for 2,400 inpatients and outpatients in North Devon, under the supervision of Dr Brian Attock Consultant Haematologist at North Devon District Hospital.
The 26 pharmacists in the UK who have completed the new independent prescribing course, will now be able to prescribe a range of treatments although the majority of their work will be in their specialist area.
This new qualification extends powers introduced in 2004, enabling specially-trained pharmacists to treat specific patients with routine problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or drug recovery programmes. However, it does not enable them to treat other medical problems.
Frances Goodhind says:
“Completing the independent prescribing training has increased my knowledge of diagnosing medical conditions and the best way to communicate to patients. I think that this is an exciting time for pharmacists and becoming a Pharmacist Independent Prescriber will open up a lot of opportunities for us to use our specialised knowledge of drugs to the best advantage of patients.”
Suzanne Bishop says:
“Independent prescribing is a good use of existing staff resources and has formalised the process of managing both hospital inpatients and community patients who require anti-coagulation to thin their blood. It has expanded my knowledge and skills, especially in diagnosis and communication, which has an onward benefit to the patient.”
Paul Cooper, Director of Pharmacy says:
” We are pleased and delighted that Suzanne and Frances have, through their hard work and dedication, become two of the new breed of pharmacists, the first 26 in the UK to qualify with independent prescriber status.
The course has helped them build on their already extensive medical knowledge and treat people in their own right. It has also given them the confidence to go into a clinic setting and prescribe for their patients.
The University of Bath is leading the way in developing this new course, which helps pharmacists acquire these new skills. For patients, independent prescribing means that they will get quality care faster, and more conveniently, than ever before.”
The six month part-time programme is designed so that pharmacists can do most of their training within the organisations they work for – so the doctors they work with can provide help and guidance as they learn about the practical aspects of prescribing.