Ireland is implementing an Expert Taskforce to strengthen the role of pharmacists – including provisions that would empower them to prescribe medications.
The Department of Health announced that the Taskforce will examine how pharmacists can be enabled to operate at the top of their licence for the benefit of patients and the wider health service and for pharmacists to prescribe medications.
It will initially consider options to enable pharmacists to extend prescriptions for a range of medicines and medical conditions where appropriate.
The Taskforce will also advise on a comprehensive approach to facilitate pharmacist prescribing. This will include, but not be limited to, empowering pharmacists to assess and prescribe for common minor ailments within a community pharmacy setting, and to use their expertise to operate as independent prescribers.
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, said these initiatives would make it easier and faster for patients to get the medication they need, stating, “pharmacists are highly trained, valued healthcare professionals who already use their extensive training and expertise in medicines to help people every day. Empowering pharmacists to use their expertise to assess and treat certain ailments will help patients get the care they need sooner and closer to home – but the benefits go much further. It can help reduce demand on hospitals, walk-in clinics and GP practices.”
The Taskforce will be chaired by Dr Pat O’Mahony, and includes representatives from the HSE, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, the Irish College of General Practitioners, as well as academic/training bodies.
The Taskforce has been asked to provide its first recommendations to the Minister as early as October 2023.
Source: Irish Medical Times