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Allied health professionals given prescribing rights

26 February 2016

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Dietitians, therapeutic radiographers and orthoptists will now be able to prescribe medication, meaning that patients don’t have to access a doctor.

UK-wide medicines legislation has been changed – so that patients have timely access to the medicines they need and more choice in how they obtain them – George Freeman, minister for life sciences, announced today.

He said: “Expanding prescribing, supply and administration responsibilities to a wider group of healthcare professionals such as therapeutic radiographers, dietitians and orthoptists 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,” he added.

Eligible practitioners must successfully complete a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) approved training programme and have this qualification marked against their name on the professional register before they can access these powers.

The legislation has been three years in the making, as, since October 2013, NHS England has been working closely with the Department of Health, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the relevant professional bodies to achieve these changes.

Suzanne Rastrick, chief allied health professions officer, NHS England, said: “NHS England has been advocating for more opportunities for allied health professionals to make use of the full range of their immense skills, so we welcome this announcement…

“It will help develop 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.”

The legislation will introduce independent prescribing responsibilities for Therapeutic Radiographers and supplementary prescribing responsibilities for dietitians. They will also enable orthoptists to supply and administer medicines under exemptions within Human Medicines Regulations.