Collaborative pharmacist prescribing within the opioid substitution treatment program in South Australia: Patient and pharmacist views

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There is a shortage of medical practitioners able and/or willing to prescribe OST. This qualitative study investigated an alternative model of care where by pharmacists co-prescribed with an accredited doctor for OST patients. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews with 14 OST patients were conducted at a state government drug and alcohol clinic about their views on pharmacist prescribing OST for them. In the second phase of the study, three focus group interviews with 18 pharmacists were conducted to explore their views on a policy proposal which would allow them to co-prescribe for OST patients. Transcripts were analysed using the five-step framework approach with the support of the software package NVivo. In general, both patients and pharmacists supported co-prescribing. Improved patient continuity of care and convenience were regarded as the main benefits of having a pharmacist co-prescriber. Continued doctor involvement with patient was supported under a co-prescribing model, but not all pharmacists may desire or be suitable to fulfil the role of a co-prescriber. Changes to health care relationships and provisions to ensure adequate support of pharmacist co-prescribers were important consideration factors in moving forward with this proposed new model of care.HighlightsCo-prescribing for OST may enhance the therapeutic relationship between a pharmacist and patient.Accessing a co-prescriber may improve continuity of care and treatment access for patients.Barriers include impact on workload, change in professional relationships and training.

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