Prescribing of controlled drugs to extend to nurses and pharmacists

The Government has today launched two consultations documents which will assess whether trained nurses and pharmacists can prescribe controlled drugs.

Controlled drugs consultation
Controlled drugs consultation

A 12-week Home Office consultation will look at whether the Misuse of Drugs Regulations should be updated. The Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will simultaneously launch a consultation on proposals for changes to the legislation governing the supply and/or administration of pain relief through morphine and diamorphine by nurses and pharmacists working under Patient Group Directions.

The documents address:

  • the prescribing of controlled drugs, including for pain relief, by nurse independent prescribers and pharmacist independent prescribers.
  • the supply and/or administration of morphine and diamorphine under Patient Group Directions by nurses and pharmacists for the immediate necessary treatment of sick or injured persons

 Health minister Lord Hunt said: 'These proposals will make it easier for patients to get the medicines they need without compromising safety. Enabling nurse and pharmacist prescribers to prescribe those controlled drugs they are competent to use, completes the changes we made last year and allows these highly trained professionals to use their full range of skills to help their patients.

Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said: 'The RCN has been calling for these changes which will improve the care and service for patients, so this is a welcome move. It shows that the Department of Health has listened to the views of the RCN and its members on this issue.'

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