Non-medical prescribing in the UK

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) stated that only “appropriate practitioners” can prescribe medicine in the UK. There are two categories of the said practitioners:

  1. non medical prescribingIndependent prescribers, who are healthcare professionals responsible for assessing patient and making clinical decisions about how to manage the patient condition and prescribing medication. They include doctors, dentists, nurse independent prescribers, pharmacist independent prescribers, and optometrist independent prescribers.
  2. Supplementary prescribers, who work with the independent prescriber and responsible for continuing patient care after being assessed by an independent prescriber. They include nurses/midwives, pharmacists, podiatrists, physiotherapists, diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers, and optometrists.

Recently, National Health Service (NHS) England has set out proposals to allow four more groups of registered AHPs to prescribe or supply and administer medicines. They are:

  • Radiographers, who would be independent prescribers
  • Paramedics, who would also be independent prescribers
  • Dietitians, who would join supplementary prescribers, and
  • Orthoptists, who would be allowed to sell, supply and administer medicines under exemptions within the Human Medicines Regulations (2012)

NHS England is consulting on these proposals. The four separate consultations have been launched on 26 February 2015. The introduction for paramedics and radiographers independent prescribing will run for 12 weeks, while consultations for dietitians and orthoptists will run for 8 weeks.

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