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Physios may get prescribing powers



By Lilian Anekwe

The Department of Health is considering whether to give physiotherapists and podiatrists independent prescribing rights.

Ministers will gather opinions on their intentions, exclusively revealed in Pulse in November 2008, to give allied health professionals greater power to prescribe medicines – possibly from the full drugs formulary.

UK drugs regulator the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency began preparing the proposals to change the legislation in June 2009, and now the DH will use a series of engagement exercises to try and drum up support for the change in the law.

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

But the DH insists that ‘independent prescribing could provide greater choice for patients, GPs and commissioners. By reducing unnecessary appointments with different professionals, the costs of care may reduce.’

The move to give physiotherapists and podiatrists more prescribing freedom has been described as ‘ludicrous’ by primary care prescribing experts.

The consultation outlines a range of proposed options, including no change. Responses can be made online, by email or in writing and the closing date for responses is Friday 26 November.