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SP5 A study exploring the opinions and attitudes of medical staff towards pharmacist independent prescribing in a neonatal intensive care unit
  1. Williams Lauren1,
  2. McIntosh Trudi2
  1. 1NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  2. 2Robert Gordon University


Aim Existing published literature supports the implementation of pharmacist independent prescribing (PIP). A positive impact on patient care1 has been reported, with an encouraging response from patients2 and other healthcare professionals when asked about their views. There have also been reported patient safety benefits from PIP in secondary care.3 There is a gap in the literature regarding the utilisation of PIP in neonatal practice. The views of neonatal pharmacists across the UK towards PIP have been considered4 but to date there has been no research published on the opinions of medical staff about PIP in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU). This study aimed to explore the opinions and attitudes of medical staff towards PIP in NICU, identifying any barriers and facilitators to the current service.

Method Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposively selected sample of senior registrars and consultants working within NICU. An interview schedule was developed, assessed for content validity and then piloted with two initial interviews (total interviews=10). Interviews were digitally recorded then transcribed verbatim. Framework Analysis principles were applied to data analysis. Ethics approval was granted by Robert Gordon University.

Results Participants displayed a positive attitude towards PIP, stating that it has been beneficial to the overall service provided in NICU. Improved patient safety, shared workload for medical staff and increased efficiency in prescribing were cited as important benefits. Collaborative working as a multi-disciplinary team when making prescribing decisions for the patient was noted to be essential, as was ensuring junior medical staff still receive the prescribing experience required for them to be competent prescribers. Although medical staff reported no concerns with PIP, lack of a service at weekends and PIP being limited by multiple concomitant ward rounds were identified barriers. The interpersonal skills and knowledge displayed by neonatal pharmacist prescribers, acceptance by the medical team and positivity towards new developments shown by all staff were highlighted as important facilitators.

Conclusion All participants were fully supportive of the PIP service provided in NICU. Utilising the knowledge and skills of pharmacist prescribers has improved the efficiency and quality of prescribing in the unit and has had a positive impact on patient care.


  1. Latter S, Blekinsopp A, Smith A, et al. Evaluation of nurse and pharmacist independent prescribing 2010. London: University of Southampton. [accessed: 2016 August 17].

  2. Tinelli M, Blekinsopp A, Later S, et al. Survey of patients‘ experiences and perceptions of care provided by nurse and pharmacist independent prescribers in primary care. Health Expectations 2013;18:1241–1255.

  3. Baqir W, Crehan O, Murray R, et al. Pharmacist prescribing within a UK NHS hospital trust: Nature and extent of prescribing, and prevalence of errors. Eur J Hosp Pharm 2015;22:79–82.

  4. Mulholland PJ. Pharmacists as non-medical prescribers; what role can they play? The evidence in a neonatal intensive care unit. E J Hosp Pharm 2014;21:335–338.

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