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Are pharmacists passing the buck?

I have a difficulty with the reported recommendations of the All-Party Pharmacy Group regarding giving pharmacists a greater role in the monitoring of long-term conditions.

Although my belief is that pharmacists are expert in the matter of medication, on a weekly basis I am frustrated by patients who come to me, having been to a pharmacist for advice regarding relatively minor problems such as hay fever or headaches, because they are taking a cocktail of prescribed medicines. I would have expected the person best suited precisely to advise them would have been a pharmacist.

Could it be that although pharmacists know the answer, they are dissuaded from advising patients because of the potential for litigation in the event of a mishap?In other words, are pharmacists passing the buck? That being the case, how can they possibly take on the responsibility of managing the usually multiple morbidity in long-term conditions?

From Dr Anthony Pickering, Northampton

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