Strong growth in pharmacist prescribing

The number of items prescribed in general practice by pharmacists increased by nearly 80% in the year to September 2010 compared with the previous year, according to a report published in February by the NHS Business Services Authority. Pharmacists prescribed more than 308,000 items in the year ending in September, although prescribing in just five Primary Care Trusts accounted for 54% of the total.

Nurse prescribing also continued to grow, with 13.6 million items prescribed by nurses in general practice in the year to September 2010, a 10.9% increase on the previous year. The vast majority are now prescribed by nurse independent prescribers rather than community practitioners.