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Legal alert over nurse prescribers

GPs who employ independent nurse prescribers will retain some legal responsibility for prescribing errors, new Government guidance states.

Medicolegal experts warned GPs should ensure there were appropriate checks in place to ensure nurses did not prescribe outside of their areas of competence.

Independent prescribers, who will have access to

the full BNF, will be 'accountable for all aspects of their

prescribing decisions' and should have appropriate liability insurance.

But their employers will still have 'vicarious liability' ­ and could be held liable even where not directly responsible.

Dr Nicholas Norwell, med-icolegal adviser with the Medical Defence Union, said: 'The employer has liability for the

actions and omissions of the employee. Every nurse prescriber should have their own indemnity.

'If doctors are thinking of going down this route they should think about the training, keep a log of training, be prepared to be involved in the nurses' prescribing to some extent, be available for advice and keep a clinical record where doctors and nurses talk about a patient's prescribing.'

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