Patients will be able to get quicker and more efficient access to medicines due to extensions to pharmacist and nurses prescribing powers, Health Minister Andy Kerr announced today.
(PressZoom) - From spring 2006 qualified pharmacist independent prescribers and extended formulary nurse prescribers will be able to prescribe any licensed medicine for any medical condition, with the exception of controlled drugs.
The Minister said:
"Today's announcement means that pharmacists will be able to independently prescribe direct to the local community, as will specialist nurses running diabetes or coronary heart disease clinics.
"By expanding traditional prescribing roles patients can access the medicines they need more easily from an increased number of highly trained health professionals.
"This is all part of our focus in 'Delivering for Health' to provide patient care that is personal and delivered to them as locally as possible. Which is why we are committed to extending the number of non-medical prescribers by 50 per cent by 2008.
"Pharmacists have wide knowledge of medicines and their actions which is invaluable to their colleagues and to patients. Today's announcement demonstrates our confidence in pharmacists and nurses and our wish to use their skills and professionalism to the full.
"With these extended prescribing powers, nurses and pharmacists will be able to improve choice for patients and enable more flexible team working within the NHS.
"And, as pharmacists and nurses undergo vigorous training before being able to prescribe, patients can be confident that they are receiving the safest, best possible care."
In March 2005 two public consultations sought views on proposals to enable pharmacists to train to become independent prescribers and on options for the future of Extended Formulary Nurse Prescribing.
The Committee on Safety of Medicines have now recommended the introduction of independent prescribing by appropriately trained pharmacists, and that the range of medicines that appropriately trained nurses can prescribe should be expanded.
Pharmacists and nurses will be able to undertake these greater prescribing roles once they have successfully completed the relevant training courses accredited by their respective regulatory bodies, and their qualifications have been noted on the professional register. Once trained they will be required to keep their skills up to date.
Pharmacist and nurse prescribers will have to work within their employers' clinical governance frameworks. They will be accountable to both their employers and regulatory bodies for their actions.
£2.1 million has been allocated over 2002/03 to 2004/05 to cover NHS costs for education, training, drug and administration costs.
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