Monday, May 01, 2006
UK Nurses Now Prescribe MoreNew rules allow nurses to prescribe
Monday May 1, 2006 7:03 AM
Nurses and pharmacists will be able to prescribe a wide range of drugs as part of a Government bid to speed up patient treatment.
Under the plan, which caused controversy when it was announced last year, nurses and pharmacists will be able to undertake extra training to prescribe medicines for common illnesses ranging from acne to tonsillitis.
Nurses, some of whom run their own specialist clinics, will also be able to prescribe for long-term conditions such as asthma and diabetes.
Nurses can already prescribe more than 180 prescription only medicines while pharmacists have been able to prescribe in partnership with doctors since 2003.
But now those powers have been widened with the aim of giving patients more choice about where and from whom they get their prescriptions.
Last year, the British Medical Association (BMA) branded the move "irresponsible and dangerous" saying it put patients at risk.
Chairman James Johnson said at the time that it was difficult to see how health workers who were not trained to diagnose disease could safely prescribe appropriate treatment.
But the Department of Health has said the move will take pressure off GPs, allowing them to focus on more complex cases.
Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said the the move was a "major advance" in improving accessibility.
Nurses and pharmacists will be able to take on the new role after successfully finishing a post-graduate prescribing training course. Once trained, they will be required to keep their skills up to date.
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