An evaluation of a 12-month pilot service involving referral of patients to specialist mental health pharmacist independent prescribers has recently been completed in Scotland. 75 patients from 2 rural and remote general practices were included in the study, which assessed the effectiveness of the service from the perspectives of the patient and care team. Outcomes were measured at baseline and follow-up using Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and/or Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) scores, patient surveys and care team interviews. A mixed diagnosis of depression and anxiety was reported in 62.7% of patients, with the total number of consultations being 324 (median 3, IQR 2-5, range 1-14) with 181 prescribing actions. The study found that the PHQ-9 and/or GAD-7 scores were decreased by 50% in 45.3% of patients, with patient questionnaires and staff interviews producing positive responses at the conclusion of the pilot. It was demonstrated that patients presenting with depression and anxiety received quality care from specialist mental health pharmacist independent prescribers and that the pilot results could potentially be used as a basis to integrate the model into general practice protocols to enhance patient care. The original research, recently published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, can be viewed here.

Contributed by Australian Medication Safety Services Associate – Isabella Singh