Exploring pharmacist prescribing in hospitals in Scotland, with a focus on antimicrobials.
Tonna, Antonella P.
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This aim of the research was to explore pharmacist prescribing (PP) with a focus on antimicrobials, in hospitals in Scotland. A mixed-methods approach was used to collect, generate and synthesise data. A systematic review of peer-reviewed published literature on evidence-based roles for the pharmacist as part of an antimicrobial multidisciplinary team, identified roles for pharmacists within the teams but limited evidence relating to outcomes associated with these roles. Six qualitative focus groups, with 37 hospital pharmacists in 5 Scottish Health Boards, contextualised perceptions of barriers to, and facilitators of, implementation of PP in hospitals. Key themes were: perceived lack of pharmacy management support to take on a prescribing role and little strategic attention paid to PP implementation and sustainability. These issues were discussed in relation to PP in general and not only for antimicrobials. Participants perceived successful implementation of PP to be associated with factors including ward type and patient’s clinical condition. None of the pharmacists were prescribing antimicrobials and consequently further studies focused on PP in general. A scoping exercise, utilising various sources of information, reinforced findings from Phase 1; it highlighted the absence of any national or Health Board frameworks to support implementation of PP in secondary care in Scotland. Consensus-based research was undertaken, therefore, to provide guidance to facilitate service redesign involving PP in secondary care in Scotland. A Delphi approach undertaken with 40 experts, mainly in strategic posts, resulted in a high level of agreement in areas relating to succession planning, rather than role development; more variability was obtained in areas relating to future orientation of service, competencies required by prescribers and potential development of non-medical prescribing teams. The guidance was developed into a self-assessment toolkit providing an analytical strategy for implementation and role development of PP in secondary care. While the results and conclusions generated through this research need to be interpreted with caution, the data generated is an original contribution to the evidence base relating to PP.