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Funding threat to prescribing plan

GPs have welcomed Government proposals to extend supplementary prescribing, but warn that lack of funding for training will further stretch practices.

The Department of Health has recommended physiotherapists, radiographers, chirop-odists and optometrists should be able to prescribe medicines in partnership with a doctor to help treat conditions such as glaucoma and chronic back pain.

More than 1,400 nurses have already qualified as nurse supplementary prescribers and around 100 pharmacists are

also registered.

Dr Peter Fellows, a GP in Gloucestershire and chair of the GPC prescribing sub-committee, said the moves should help save GPs from having to treat minor illness.

But he said practices were struggling to cope with the loss of valuable nurses to training courses with no funding available to cover them.

He added: 'The department has constantly avoided the question of paying for doctors to mentor nurses being trained for prescribing.'

Dr Fellows said he had asked GPC negotiators to go back to the department and ask for extra funding.

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