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The waiting game

Government launches Bill which could allow nurses to prescribe metformin and statins

New measures to allow midwives, physios and paramedics to prescribe low-risk medicines will reduce unnecessary GP appointments, the Government has announced.

The Medicines and Medical Devices Bill will scrap red tape and bureaucracy in the NHS, the Department of Health and Social Care said.

Included in the Bill are provisions to increase the range of professions able to prescribe medicines in low-risk circumstances, ‘as midwives and paramedics do now with pain relief and physiotherapists with anti-inflammatories’, the DHSC said.

Offering further context to Pulse, a DHSC spokesperson said: 'Trained nurse prescribers in general practice can run diabetes clinics helping patients manage their condition to improve their blood sugar levels prescribing medicines e.g. metformin to help with this as well as medicines needed to support associated conditions eg statins for blood cholesterol.'

The Government said it would ‘work with the NHS and stakeholders to determine exactly what medicines could be eligible and in what circumstances’.

In a statement, the DHSC said: ‘This will be with appropriate safeguards and clear limits on what medications are eligible.

‘This allows the NHS to make the very best use of its highly skilled workforce, to save patients’ time and reduce unnecessary GP appointments, helping deliver on the manifesto commitment to deliver 50 million more GP appointments.’

The Bill also gives hospitals new powers to use patients’ tissue and DNA in developing personalised treatments in diseases such as cancer and includes tougher regulations on medical devices.

Health minister Baroness Blackwood said the new Bill would give the NHS the freedom to innovate to improve lives as well as protect patient safety.

‘It will slash red tape, support uptake of treatments for people with rare diseases and empower those in the NHS who know what’s best for their patients to deliver the best quality care.’

Readers' comments (4)

  • so when they prescribe an nsaid and put the patient in acute renal failure the responsibility will be with whom? They can get a prescribing certificate to do this already so not sure this is really new news. However the constant knocks on the door to check they have prescribed correctly do get a bit tiresome. Not really helping my workload.

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  • There isn't such a thing as "low risk prescribing".

    The fact that the powers that be think there is should be worrying in itself.

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  • district nurses should be able to prescribe dressings etc. That would save us a load of time.

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  • The District nurses wont't even take blood from housebound patients round here so can't see them "extending " their role

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