Pharmacists may soon be able to prescribe medicines and extend prescriptions

Pharmacists may soon be able to prescribe medicines and extend prescriptions

Options to enable pharmacists to extend prescriptions for a range of medicines and conditions are among measures to be examined by a new Government taskforce.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced the establishment of a new expert taskforce to support the expansion of the role of pharmacists in Ireland.

The Department of Health said it will examine how pharmacists can be enabled to operate at the top of their licence for the benefit of patients and the wider health service.

The group will also advise on a comprehensive approach to facilitate pharmacist prescribing.




This will include empowering pharmacists to assess and prescribe for common minor ailments within a community pharmacy setting and to use their expertise to operate as independent prescribers.

Mr Donnelly said these initiatives would make it easier and faster for patients to get the medication they need.

He said: “Empowering pharmacists to use their expertise to assess and treat certain ailments will help patients get the care they need sooner and closer to home – but the benefits go much further.

“It can help reduce demand on hospitals, walk-in clinics and GP practices.”


The taskforce will be chaired by Dr Pat O’Mahony, and includes representatives from the HSE, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, the Irish College of General Practitioners, as well as academic and training bodies.

It is due to provide its first recommendations to the minister in October.

Dr O’Mahony, former chief executive of the Health Products Regulatory Authority and previous deputy secretary general of the Department of Health, said it is a “privilege” to be appointed chair.

“Pharmacists are highly trusted healthcare professionals, and in line with best practice on the safe and appropriate use of medicines, and the principles of Slaintecare, it is timely we now look urgently at how certain medicines can be made available directly to patients through the extensive network of community pharmacies,” he said.

By By Cillian Sherlock, PA

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