DoH to scrap restrictions on nurse prescribing

Plans to remove all remaining restrictions on prescribing by nurses and pharmacists have been laid before parliament and could be agreed by next month.

An amendment order drafted by the DoH will alter the Prescription Only Medicines (Human Use) Order 1997, removing the restriction on prescribing of controlled drugs by nurse independent prescribers and introducing the freedom for pharmacists to prescribe controlled drugs.

Nurse independent prescribers can currently prescribe 12 controlled drugs, but only for specified medical conditions. 

The Home Office is amending the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 to mirror the changes being made by the DoH.

In a consultation by the department last year, 171 of 200 respondents backed the removal of prescribing restrictions. 

Both the Commission on Human Medicines and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs have said the move would not lead to ‘an increased risk of diversion or misuse' of controlled drugs.

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