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Home Industry News Nurses and chemists to get increased prescribing powers

Nurses and chemists to get increased prescribing powers

10th November 2005

The power to prescribe almost every type of medicine available on the NHS will today be extended to some high-level nurses.

The health secretary, Patricia Hewitt is set to announce the proposals today as part of legislation that will also see nurses gain extra “doctor” responsibilities of diagnosis, prescription and monitoring, reports the Guardian.

Powers to prescribe medicines will also be extended to some pharmacists thus allowing patients access to prescription drugs without the need to visit a GP.

The powers will greatly extend the number of drugs available to nurses to prescribe. In 2002 nurses were given limited rights to prescribe a few drugs to help them deal with minor injuries, health promotion and palliative care and in May this year this was extended to about 240 treatments, though this represented just a fraction of the drugs available.

Ms Hewitt proposes that nurses and pharmacists go through an additional training course lasting at least 38 days. Nurses will become eligible to go on the course three years after qualifying, but will require a recommendation from their employer.

“The extension means specialist nurses running diabetes and coronary heart disease clinics will be able to prescribe independently for their patients. Pharmacists will be able to independently prescribe for the local community, for example, controlling high blood pressure and diabetes,” a Department of Health is quoted as saying by the paper.

Matt Griffiths, joint prescribing adviser to the Royal College of Nurses said he expected thousands of nurses to qualify for the new prescribing rights in the next few years.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society welcomed the announcement but the British Medical Association, which represents doctors, was more skeptical claiming patient safety may be at risk.

Certain controlled drugs such as diamorphine will not be in the list available for nurses to prescribe.

track© Adfero Ltd

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