Exploring Challenges in Pharmacist Prescribing Practices in Dublin: A Comprehensive Investigation into Community Pharmacist’s Perspectives and Public Perceptions

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Pattathil, Rahib
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One of the main challenges facing the Irish health sector is the delay in accessing healthcare services, which is partly caused by the insufficient number of physicians in the country. This situation leads to long waiting times for consultations and sometimes forces people to travel abroad to seek medical help. A possible solution to this problem is to introduce prescribing pharmacists, as in the UK, who can prescribe medicines for certain conditions without the need for a doctor's referral. This study aims to explore the feasibility and implications of implementing pharmacist prescribing in Ireland from a policy perspective. It will use qualitative methods to interview community pharmacists in Dublin about their knowledge, attitude and practice regarding prescribing, and quantitative methods to survey the public about their perceptions and preferences on pharmacist prescribing.

The main research question "How can the implementation of pharmacist prescribing in Dublin address the challenges in healthcare service accessibility and alleviate the burden on existing infrastructure, and what are the key considerations from the perspectives of community pharmacists and the public regarding knowledge, attitudes, and practices associated with pharmacist prescribing?”. The study is grounded in Interpretivism, making it an appropriate research paradigm for this investigation as it facilitates the exploration of the subjective perspectives of community pharmacists. Through the use of semi-structured interviews featuring open-ended questions, the study provides pharmacists with the opportunity to share their personal experiences, opinions, and interpretations. This approach transcends simple numerical data, enabling an in-depth examination of their knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding Prescribing Pharmacists (PP). Additionally, employing closed-ended questionnaires for surveys aligns with interpretivism, as it acknowledges the subjective nature of individual experiences. While closed-ended questions offer structure, the responses still capture the diverse views and perceptions of the public concerning the introduction of Prescribing Pharmacists in Dublin, Ireland. Interpretivism supports a deeper comprehension of public perception, recognizing that these perceptions are socially constructed and influenced by personal experiences.

Overall, the expected outcome is to establish a robust foundation for evidence-based policy decisions in the Irish healthcare system, fostering a deeper understanding of the dynamics involved in introducing pharmacist prescribing and contributing to enhanced healthcare service accessibility. Upon the comprehensive completion of research and a nuanced understanding of the challenges, the study will be sufficiently equipped to propose recommendations for policy changes and provide advice regarding the implementation of prescribing pharmacists. It aimed to address gaps in existing studies conducted by various researchers in this context, contributing to a more informed and effective approach to pharmacist prescribing, and ultimately enhancing the overall healthcare service delivery in Dublin.

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