"Nurses to prescribe drugs in the UK
UK’s Secretary of State for Health Patricia Hewitt announced .../..., nurses and pharmacists will acquire broad drug prescribing rights. Nurses and pharmacists will be able to attend an extra training course giving them permission to prescribe almost every licensed medicine for any medical condition - with the exception of controlled drugs. Nurses will become eligible to go through training three years after qualifying, and a recommendation from their employer will be required in order to take this course.
Patricia Hewitt said: "By expanding traditional prescribing roles, patients can more easily access the medicines they need from an increased number of highly trained health professionals.” And she continued "This is another step towards a truly patient-led NHS, giving patients the power to choose where and by whom they are treated."
This announcement raised concern within the British Medical Association. Dr James Johnson, Chairman of the BMA, said: “We need to meet urgently with the Secretary of State to clarify the conditions under which other professions can prescribe. It is difficult to see how healthcare professionals who are not trained to diagnose disease can safely prescribe appropriate treatment. The BMA will be seeking assurances from the government that patient safety will not be compromised by these changes.”"