Saturday, November 19, 2005

UK doctors protest at extension to nurses' and pharmacists' prescribing powers

BMJ 2005;331:1159 (19 November), doi:10.1136/bmj.331.7526.1159
Michael Day (

According to this article Doctors' leaders have condemned the UK government's decision to give nurses and pharmacists virtually unlimited prescribing powers.

James Johnson, the BMA's chairman, has called for an urgent meeting with the secretary of state for health, Patricia Hewitt, to discuss the proposals, which took the BMA by surprise when they were announced last week. "It is difficult to see how healthcare professionals who are not trained to diagnose disease can safely prescribe appropriate treatment," he said.

Mrs Hewitt told the chief nursing officers' annual conference in London last week that from spring 2006 qualified "extended formulary nurse prescribers" and "independent pharmacist prescribers" would be able to prescribe any licensed drug for any medical condition, with the exception of controlled drugs, such as diamorphine.

There are now over 6,100 extended formulary nurse prescribers who are qualified to prescribe from the Nurse Prescribers' Extended Formulary, which was introduced in April 2002 and which contains around 240 prescription only medicines. The "independent pharmacist prescriber" will be a new position.

For the full article or for more info you can follow the links:
BMJ 2005;331:1159 (19 November), doi:10.1136/bmj.331.7526.1159

BMJ 2005;331:1154-1155 (19 November), doi:10.1136/bmj.331.7526.1154
Editorial: Extended prescribing by UK nurses and pharmacists