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Controlled drugs access for nurses

Nurse independent prescribers can prescribe a range of controlled drugs including diamorphine from this week.

The move has further fuelled concerns over the extension of prescribing powers to health professionals who are not medically qualified.

From 6 January, extended formulary nurse prescribers were granted access to morphine in a number of formulations, buprenorphine, chlordia-zepoxide HCl and several other controlled drugs.

But Dr Jim Kennedy, RCGP prescribing spokesman, said the move would make it even more difficult to strike a safe balance between access to controlled drugs and patient safety.

'There are significant concerns at the moment about the status of controlled drugs. How much more difficult is it going to be if several hundred thousand more nurses are prescribing?'

The controversy came as GPs aired wider concerns over nurse prescribing in a series of letters in the BMJ warning of a 'blurring of roles'.

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