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”.