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A brief history of pharmacist prescribing in the UK
  1. Wasim Baqir1,
  2. David Miller2,
  3. Graeme Richardson1
  1. 1Pharmacy Department, North Tyneside Hospital, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, North Shields, UK
  2. 2Pharmacy Department, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Sunderland, UK;
  1. Correspondence to Dr W Baqir, Department of Pharmacy, North Tyneside Hospital, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Rake Lane, North Shields NE29 8NH, UK; wasim.baqir{at}

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Pharmacists have been prescribing in the UK since 2003, following the success of nurse prescribing. The review of prescribing, supply and administration of medicines (the second Crown Report) in 1999 proposed that new groups of professionals could apply for permission to prescribe in specific clinical areas.1 Pharmacists were among a number of professional groups, including nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, podiatrists, optometrists and radiographers, that were considered for enhancements to their prescribing rights.2 Pharmacists were the second group of health professionals to become non-medical prescribers, following nurses.

Kocić and Stewart argued that internationally, 24% of pharmacists were already undertaking ‘some form’ of prescribing3; the UK approach is to provide a legal framework for roles that clinical pharmacists already undertake.

The journey

Pharmacists were first given prescribing rights (supplementary prescribing) in 2003 following the successful completion of a supplementary prescribing course at a UK school of pharmacy and subsequent registration with their regulatory body.4 The supplementary prescribing model was dependant on a prior diagnosis and an agreed and signed clinical management plan, developed in collaboration with the patient's general practitioner or hospital doctor (the independent prescriber), prescribing pharmacist, prescriber and the patient.1 Once this plan is in place, clinical responsibility and prescribing could be transferred to the supplementary prescriber from the doctor. Clinical management plans were individual to the patient but could …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.