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Physios, chiropodists and dieticians set to be given prescribing rights

By Nigel Praities

The UK drug regulator is preparing proposals to extend prescribing rights to a raft of non-medical professionals including physiotherapists, dieticians and chiropodists, Pulse can reveal.

The MHRA said proposals to ease restrictions on supplementary prescribing or hand allied health professions independent prescriber status had attracted ‘general support' during a consultation on UK medicines legislation.

It follows a statement by the agency last year that it would consider giving extending prescribing rights if the proposed measures attracted support.

Currently non-medical professionals are only able to prescribe certain medicines within an agreed clinical management plan and after receiving specific training.

But in a move described as ‘ludicrous' by some experts, the MHRA is developing plans over the summer to give non-medical prescribers more freedom.

The MHRA said it was reviewing the consultation responses and would be working with stakeholder groups to develop proposals.

‘We will be meeting with stakeholder groups to help us to develop clear proposals. Once these have been identified, they will be put to consultation later in the year.

‘The discussions will help to inform our plans to develop a medicines legislative framework which is comprehensive, comprehensible and fit for current purpose.'

But Professor Hugh McGavock, visiting professor of prescribing science at the University of Ulster and former member of the Committee on Safety of Medicines, said the MHRA plans would affect patient safety.

‘It is just not safe to be tinkering with medication, unless it is someone who knows what they are doing.

‘It is quite ludicrous to imagine this will not affect the quality of care. What the Department of Health and the MHRA are doing is a travesty,' he said.

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