DoH to consult on nurse prescribing of controlled drugs

The DoH is expected to consult on allowing independent nurse prescribers to prescribe all controlled drugs (CDs) in the near future.

Diamorphine in short supply
Diamorphine in short supply

When questioned by substance misuse nurses at the Association for Nurse Prescribing (ANP) conference in London last week, Maureen Morgan, adviser to the chief nursing officer, said there were ‘negotiations going on'. She added: 'We're hoping the proposal will go out to consultation soon.'

The RCN has been lobbying for independent nurse prescribers to have greater access to CDs, particularly those working in palliative care, out of hours and substance misuse.

RCN prescribing adviser Professor Matt Griffiths said they were pushing for all CDs to be made available to independent nurse prescribers who would prescribe only within their competencies.

'At the moment substance misuse nurses, who are specialists within their fields and very aware of how CDs should be prescribed, are forced to operate within supplementary prescribing which is extremely restricting.'

Professor Griffiths said nurses also needed greater access to a wider range of pain relief drugs, particularly as there was currently a national shortage of diamorphine. Nurses working in out of hours were also often the first to arrive at scenes of major trauma and needed pain relief options to stabilise patients, he said.

Sources have indicated the consultation is expected at the end of this month or early next month.

Ms Morgan also told the conference that money for non-medical prescribing would be in this year's budget. 'It's a bit less than last year but it will be there, which in this financial climate is good news.'

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