Background Under UK legislation, suitably qualified non-medical professionals can practise as prescribers. Few studies have explored the views of the general public towards non-medical prescribing. Objective The aim was to explore the views of the Scottish general public on non-medical prescribing. Setting General community in Scotland. Method A pre-piloted survey was mailed to a random sample of 5,000 members of the general public in Scotland. In addition to the items on awareness of and attitudes towards non-medical prescribing, respondents were asked to ‘give any other comments, issues or concerns you have in relation to health professionals other than doctors prescribing.’ Responses were subjected to content analysis. Main outcome measures Key themes identified from content analysis. Results The overall questionnaire response rate was 37.1 % (n = 1,855) of which 27.2 % (n = 505) provided comments. Most were directly related to pharmacist prescribing (n = 312) while others referred to non-medical prescribers generically (n = 172) or other healthcare professionals (n = 79). Nine themes were identified: perception of knowledge and training; support for a limited range of non-medical prescribing; access to medical records; motivation and convenience; confidence, faith and trust; privacy and confidentiality; risks, controls and continuity of care; supervision and conflict of interest; communication and cooperation. Conclusions The findings identify support for non-medical prescribing but indicate the need for non-medical prescribers to engage more with the general public. The comments also provide insight into the challenges for non-medical prescribers, as they strive to fulfil their extended healthcare roles.
- allied health professional
- public opinion