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New laws will see 700 paramedics trained to write prescriptions

New laws will see hundreds of experienced paramedics trained to write prescriptions, NHS England has announced.

NHS England has said that the changes, which came into effect on the 1 April, will speed up patient access to treatments and prevent unnecessary visits to GP practices.

Paramedics could previously administer medications on a limited basis, however following a trial run, new laws were introduced so that the most qualified are able to independently prescribe.

NHS England has estimated that 700 paramedics are set to undertake the training allowing them do this.

Many advanced paramedics are already incorporated into GP practices, but this additional qualification means that they could prescribe medications without the patient needing to see a GP.

NHS England has said that up to seven out of 10 patients seen by urgent care paramedics require help, but might not need to go to hospital.

It explained that elderly patients with urinary tract infections, asthma patients who need oral steroids and people presenting with back pain, are all examples where paramedics have the potential to assist.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: ‘Increasing the range of treatments offered by paramedics closer to people’s homes is another significant step in transforming emergency care as ambulance clinicians increasingly become part of community urgent treatment services’.

Health minister Lord O’Shaughnessy added: ‘This will allow the NHS to make full use of its highly skilled workforce, ease pressure on other key services and improve care by ensuring patients have quicker access to vital medicines and can start treatment without delay’.

The new legislation follows a consultation which saw 90% of respondents agree that some changes should be made to allow independent prescribing.

Paramedics have previously been called on to support increasing workload in primary care. In 2015, paramedics were reportedly attending home visits at weekends and evenings due to out of hours staff shortages in North Wales.

A year later, it was revealed that health boards in Scotland were also turning to the profession to cover patients outside of normal practice hours.

 

 

Readers' comments (7)

  • Cobblers

    "It explained that elderly patients with urinary tract infections, asthma patients who need oral steroids and people presenting with back pain, are all examples where paramedics have the potential to assist."

    All three of those scenarios are fraught with danger.

    LOL off legs and paramedic diagnoses UTI? A lot of elderly have UTIs and get along perfectly happily. Trimethoprim for a CVA anyone?

    Asthma. DO NOT MESS. People will die.

    Back pain is easier but again AAA and spinal mets present that way.

    So paramedics do have the potential to assist - IN TAKING said patient in their expensive taxi for proper assessment to that shiny white building with the clever doctors in white coats.

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  • Cobblers

    Community urgent (national) treatment services.

    Ooer matron!

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  • AlanAlmond

    It’s basic desperation and necessity. There aren’t enough Drs, someone has to dish out the drugs hey. Won’t be long till the tea lady/man gets ‘special training’ to issue anxiolytics. To much bother to address the reasons why the people you actually need are no longer interested in being treated like trash. I’ve the greatest of respect for paramedics but let’s be truthful here they are simply a cheaper easier alternative to a proper Dr. Tell me I’m wrong

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  • I missed the last word of the headline and just read this:
    "New laws will see 700 paramedics trained to write"
    Which I thought was a little bit rude.

    Then realised that I just needed some training to read.

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  • Cobblers

    Ex-GP@1:40am - technically the tea lady IS a drug dealer and that drug (tea) can be a useful anxiolytic if the stiff upper lip is trembling.

    COI Study of personal experience (n=1).

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  • Careful Obi, your reflection might just put you on supervision with the GMC. The paramedics will write the prescription, call the GP and pass the bug to you and ask the patient to see you if there are any problems.

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  • Their MDO fees will be greater than their salary.

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