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The British Medical Association recently published their report on the impact of COVID-19 on mental health in England, highlighting the urgent need for investment in mental health services and further recruitment of mental health staff.1 Like many others, they have predicted a substantial increase in demand on mental health services in the coming months. Their recommendations include a call for detailed workforce planning at local, national and system levels. This coincides with the publication of the ‘NHS People Plan’ which also emphasised the need to maximise staff potential.2 The message from both is clear, it is time for Trusts to revise and improve how they use their multidisciplinary workforce, including non-medical prescribers (NMPs).
Pharmacists have been able to register as independent prescribers since 20063 and as such, can work autonomously to prescribe any medicine for any medical condition within their areas of competency.4 There has been a slow uptake of pharmacists into this role5 and while a recent General Pharmaceutical Council survey found only a small increase between the number of active prescribers from 2013 (1.094) to 2019 (1.590), almost a quarter of prescribers included mental health within their prescribing practice.6 More recently, we …
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