Personal Views

Don't shoot me—I'm only the pharmacist

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 03 May 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1355
  1. David Kernick, general practitioner
  1. Exeter

    The recent test case in the high court giving pharmacists the right to dispense in rural areas has highlighted the differences in view between pharmacists and rural practitioners. The confrontation between two professional groups involved in delivering the same service may benefit from a closer examination.

    In the red corner is the Rural Pharmacists Association: “The comprehensive service that can be provided from a pharmacy is vastly superior to the supply service from a doctor's surgery.” In the blue corner is the Dispensing Doctors Association: “Pharmacists are heading the way of dinosaurs and all dispensing should be done in doctors' premises.”

    Current health policy sees the pharmacist as an underutilised resource who should be part of a multidisciplinary team working within locally defined protocols, freeing up NHS resources and general practitioners' time. This approach is clearly at odds with many doctors who agree with the succinct analysis of the Dispensing …

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