Posted by: Connie Pringle25 OCT 2011
Prescribing under patient group directives, clinical management plans, training and only prescribing within your competency are all sensible ideas when it comes to non-medical prescribing. However, a fourth year pharmacy practice lecture today reminded me of some outrageous legislation which needs to change.
As experts in medicines and the only people fully trained in how to handle them, why are pharmacists the only professionals who, when qualified as independent prescribers, aren’t permitted to prescribe controlled drugs? While a qualified nurse prescriber may prescribe (providing it is within her competency with the support of an appropriate CMP) as many CD POMs as she likes, if I ever grow up to be an independent prescriber, at present I’d be breaking the law to sign off simple Co-cocodamol - which is available over the counter anyway!
The rule, which applies to all CDs including CD Inv drugs, seems a ridiculous mismatch of skills and practice. It seems counter-productive when we’re taught that pharmacy is all about taking responsibility for proper patient care. Most importantly, we could be disadvantaging patients by not putting our knowledge properly to the test!
Admittedly, with the financial crisis and reformation/liberation/destruction of the NHS taking centre stage, I don’t think the government is all that bothered about the disparity between pharmacist and nurse independent prescribing roles at the moment. However, I think pharmacists should push for change in this area – for the sake of patients, and the profession.