Pharmacist prescribers can now prescribe nearly 200 more medicines enabling New Zealanders to receive better access to medicines.
This follows the Ministry of Health’s public consultation on the proposed additions to the schedule of specified prescription medicines for pharmacist prescribers.
“Currently there are 37 pharmacist prescribers in New Zealand who are largely based in a collaborative multidisciplinary health team environment,” says the Ministry's Clinical Chief Advisor of Pharmacy, Andi Shirtcliffe.
“Pharmacist prescribers have specialised knowledge about medicines. They have a defined clinical area of practice and a required level of knowledge, skills, and competence. This enables them to provide individualised medicines management services, including prescribing medicines to patients across a range of healthcare settings, delivering more effective and efficient patient care.
“We know, with COVID-19, how busy all health professionals can be. These additions to the schedule means pharmacist prescribers can help to alleviate that pressure – improving access of care for patients, freeing up other practitioners to help more patients.
The Ministry of Health has worked closely with the Pharmacy Council throughout this process, including a period of consultation.
“The world of medicines changes quickly and it’s important to us and to the Pharmacy Council that this schedule reflects the new medicines available to ensure improved and more equitable access to treatments,” says Andi Shirtcliffe.
A total of 59 submissions were received, largely from the sector. 61% of respondents were in favour of the proposed changes and 39% were not.
The groups who opposed the changes, mainly non-pharmacy professional groups, questioned the scope of practice and pharmacist prescribers’ capability in prescribing speciality medicines.
A summary report of the submissions has been published on the Ministry’s website (https://www.health.govt.nz/publication/consultation-amendments-schedules-specified-prescription-medicines-designated-pharmacist-prescribers). The published Gazette notice is available here (https://gazette.govt.nz/notice/id/2021-go4269).