The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is calling for a change in medicines legislation that would allow community pharmacists to alter prescriptions to help minimise unnecessary treatment delays.

The proposals would enable pharmacists to amend the strength and formulation of the medicine dispensed or supply a generic alternative should that originally prescribed be unavailable, without having to contact the prescriber every time.

Noting that this is already 'common practice' in hospital and community settings in Scotland, the RPS said the move would improve access to treatment for patients and reduce the workload of GPs.

“We fully support pharmacists to use their professional judgment to put patients first and manage these changes to prescriptions,” commented RPS president Sandra Gidley.

“Pharmacists in hospital, and in community pharmacies in Scotland, can already routinely make these alterations to prescriptions for the benefit of patients. All pharmacists should be allowed to minimise the impact of medicine shortages on patient care.

“At a time when primary care services are under enormous pressure, it’s right to address this imbalance. We want the UK government to introduce greater flexibility and improve access to medicines by enabling community pharmacists across Great Britain to make these simple changes.”