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Non-medical prescribing

Dieticians join ranks of prescribers

More health professional groups in England are being given the chance to prescribe, sell and supply medicines, NHS England has announced.

Dieticians will be allowed to become supplementary prescribers and radiographers will be able to train to become independent prescribers when changes to the Human Medicines Regulations come into force on 1 April 2016.

At the same time, orthoptists – eye specialists who work alongside ophthalmologists and ophthalmic practitioners – will be able to sell and supply general sale, pharmacy and some prescription-only medicines. Midwives will also be able to supply diamorphine, morphine and pethidine hydrochloride to patients as part of the changes.

Announcing the reforms on 26 February 2016, life sciences minister George Freeman said: “Expanding prescribing, supply and administration responsibilities to a wider group of healthcare professionals… is good news for patients who will be able to access high quality services more quickly and conveniently. It will also help to drive up efficiency by freeing up doctors’ time to care for patients with more complex health care needs and reduce bureaucracy.”

Suzanne Rastrick, chief allied health professions officer at NHS England, says the changes will help create a “more flexible workforce, able to make better use of their skills and innovate to provide services more responsive to the needs of patients, whilst also being cost effective”.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20200799

Readers' comments (2)

  • And pharmacists with a minimum 5 years training are not even on the page?! What is stopping us? What is holding us back?
    I have raised this numerous times over the past 4 years whilst serving on the English Pharmacy Board and been told 'we need more training' or 'there isn't the funding for community pharmacists' or ''there isn't a clear role once you're a prescriber'!
    Well now its time for us to lobby for prescription status FOR ALL pharmacists - we need to be able to amend Rx's, correct errors and annotate accordingly, substitute alternatives for out of stocks, prescribe appropriate formulations after an MUR, offer a prescribable minor ailments service - and that's just for starters!
    Obviously in our specialised areas we should be independent prescribers - but self accredited - just like other PGD's and services such as the flu vaccine service are now.
    We have kept quiet for too long - we pharmacists ARE the experts in medicines - SO LET US PRESCRIBE THEM TOO!
    I suggest that the proposed Pharmacy Integration Fund needs to facilitate and provide funding for community pharmacist prescribers. Let's all write to and speak to our MP's to support this priority.
    Sibby Buckle FRharmS

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  • Excellent news.

    Pharmacist prescribers will be used to full effect. If you see some of the aspirations of Scotland's community pharmacy stategy there are may opportunities.

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  • George Freeman, life sciences minister

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