Midwives to prescribe controlled drugs
Posted: 24 April 2012 by Rob Dabrowski
Midwives, nurses and pharmacists will be allowed to prescribe a range of controlled drugs, the government has announced.
Regulation changes mean that qualified ‘independent prescribers’ will be allowed to prescribe morphine, diamorphine and prescription-strength co-codamol, among others.
Up to 20,000 midwives and nurses, and 1500 pharmacists who are qualified will be able to prescribe the drugs where it is clinically appropriate and within their professional competence.
Chief nursing officer, Professor Dame Chris Beasley, said: ‘These changes will help deliver faster and more effective care, making it easier for patients to get the medicines they need, without compromising safety.
‘Enabling appropriately qualified nurses and pharmacists to prescribe and mix those controlled drugs they are competent to use, for example in palliative care, completes the changes made over recent years to ensure we make the best use of these highly trained professionals’ skills, for the benefit of patients.’
Only midwives, nurses and pharmacists who have the right experience and who have successfully completed additional post-registration training will be able to prescribe controlled drugs.
This means that prescribing will only be carried out by appropriately trained health professionals working within their professional competence.
The news does not change the tighter controls that were introduced following the Shipman Inquiry, which protect patients from the misuse of controlled drugs.
Chief pharmaceutical officer Dr Keith Ridge, said: ‘Patients are increasingly being treated by a broader range of health professionals.
‘Whilst it remains important that all healthcare professionals work as a team to support patients, pharmacists, like nurses and midwives are increasingly taking on new roles to deliver more flexible, improved care, and better outcomes.
‘These changes support our aim of making the best possible use of pharmacists' knowledge and capability to deliver faster, more personalised and optimised patient care.’