NMC confirms nurses unauthorised to mix drugs in syringe drivers

Nurses are not authorised to prescribe syringe drivers containing a mixture of drugs to patients during palliative care, advice from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) confirms.

Earlier this month, Independent Nurse exclusively revealed that nurses could be struck off for unwittingly breaching prescribing rules after an NHS watchdog said they were not qualified to mix drugs in syringe drivers.

The NMC states: ‘Independent Nurse Prescribers are not authorised to prescribe a mixture of licensed medication for administration via, for example, a syringe driver.

‘Whilst the medications they are prescribing are individually licensed for administration, if they require mixing, this alters the properties of the medication and renders it an unlicensed one.

‘In relation to queries to the NMC regarding the use of a clinical management plan for this practice; a sound evidence base must be demonstrated and issues such as patient consent and knowledge of the change in licensing status must be addressed and recorded.’

The NMC adds that it is currently working with the MHRA and other relevant stakeholders to identify the best way to communicate best practice.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

NMC Advice sheet: mixing drugs in palliative care 2008

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