Do Patients Value Consulting A Prescribing Pharmacist?

Southampton, UK – A recent study originated by a joint partnership between the Universities of Southampton and Keele, UK has found that prescribing services provided by pharmacists are valued by respondents as an alternative to medical prescribing in primary care and therefore can help guide the delivery of greater patient-focused services and release some of the pressure on family doctor services.

The study, “Valuing the Extended Role of Prescribing Pharmacist In General Practice: Results from A Discrete Choice Experiment,” published in Value in Health, was specifically designed to examine how patients trade-off select characteristics of follow-up visits in choosing to attend either their ‘own doctor’, another ‘available doctor’ or a ‘prescribing pharmacist’ for managing existing long-term conditions.

A choice experiment survey conducted on 451 patients attending five GP practices in England revealed clear preferences for consultations with either a ‘prescribing pharmacist’ or ‘own doctor’ rather than the ‘available doctor’ although ‘own doctor’, unsurprisingly, was most strongly preferred. Other factors in the consultation were also found to be important, in particular the level of attention paid by the professional to the patient’s views about medicines, and used to estimate acceptability of alternative prescribing services.

Policies both to extend independent prescribing across the whole formulary by non-medical professionals and to deliver patient-focused health services motivated this investigation into patients’ direct valuation of non-medical prescribing.

Dr. Karen Gerard, a senior health economist at the University of Southampton, comments, “With the ever increasing emphasis on patient-focused health services and escalating pressures on family doctor’s time, it is a welcome finding to learn that patients value and accept consultations with prescribing pharmacists at the general practice as an alternative in the long term management of health conditions.” The study was co-authored by Karen Gerard, Michela Tinelli, Sue Latter, Alison Blenkinsopp, and Alesha Smith. This study forms part of a wider evaluation of independent non-medical prescribing in England funded by the Policy Research Programme in the Department of Health. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Department.


Value in Health (ISSN 1098-3015) publishes papers, concepts, and ideas that advance the field of pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research as well as policy papers to help health care leaders make evidence-based decisions. The journal is published bi-monthly and has over 8,000 subscribers (clinicians, decision makers, and researchers worldwide).

International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) is a nonprofit, international, educational and scientific organization that strives to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and fairness of health care resource use to improve health.

For more information: www.ispor.org

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