The Government has announced plans to increase the range of healthcare professionals who can prescribe ‘low-risk’ medicines.
In the Queen’s speech today, it was announced that the Medicines and Medical Devices bill would ‘capitalise on opportunities’ for patients to have faster access to medicines by increasing the number of professions who can prescribe them.
According to the Government, the bill will: ‘Enable Government to increase the range of professions able to prescribe low-risk medicines to make the most effective use of the NHS workforce, as well as developing more innovative ways of dispensing medicines, where recommended by scientific experts.’
It follows the news that the NHS is looking at removing the need for GPs to prescribe statins, and instead allowing pharmacists to give high-dose statins over the counter, which was met with concerns about overdiagnosis and over-treatment.
BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘Proposals to expand prescribing powers to other professionals must be developed with meaningful input from doctors and with patient safety at their heart.’
He added: ‘The NHS is understaffed and underfunded, with doctors and their colleagues fighting a daily battle to guarantee safe, high-quality care in the face of rocketing demand. While the Government has today set out its ambitions, the NHS requires immediate, decisive, action. This means a rapid increase in investment, the end of punitive pension rules that penalise doctors for going to work and introducing legislation to create clear lines of accountability for safe staffing.’
It follows the news that a governmental tax body has recommended ministers consider dropping the lifetime tax allowance on the NHS Pensions scheme in what medical accountants have described as a ‘game-changing’ move for GP pensions.