Non-medical prescribing

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Non-medical prescribing

NPC legacy site

From 15th May 2012, the team delivering the work of the NPC will form the NICE Medicines and Prescribing Centre and will sit alongside the Clinical Guidelines team within the Centre for Clinical Practice.

The NICE Medicines and Prescribing Centre will continue to provide resources which aim to support all those involved in local decision-making. However, there will be some changes to the way in which these resources are produced and published going forward, as part of the overall work delivered by NICE.

All future Medicines and prescribing outputs will be published on the NICE website and signposted from the Medicines and prescribing homepage.

Since the publication of the Crown Report, ‘Review of prescribing, supply & administration of medicines’ in 1999, many legislative changes have taken place to implement the government’s policy of extending prescribing responsibilities to non-medical professions. The aims of non-medical prescribing are:

  • To make more effective use of the skills and expertise of groups of professions
  • To improve patients’ access to treatment and advice
  • To improve patient choice and convenience
  • To contribute to more flexible team working across the NHS

Currently, nurses, pharmacists, optometrists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and radiographers can train to prescribe within their clinical competence. Members of these professions can train to become supplementary prescribers, prescribing in partnership with a doctor or dentist in accordance with a patient specific clinical management plan. Additionally, nurses, pharmacists and optometrists can train to prescribe independently.

For more detailed explanations on the types of non-medical prescribers and what they can currently prescribe please see our FAQs, and our shared practice examples demonstrate some of the many areas where non-medical prescribing is currently being used to fulfil the aims of the original policy.

The NPC has published A single competency framework for all prescribers.

Having previously published prescribing competency frameworks for each of the non-medical prescribing professions, it is now clear that a common set of competencies underpin good prescribing regardless of professional background.

This framework consolidates the existing profession specific prescribing frameworks and updates the competencies in order to provide a single common framework that is relevant to doctors, dentists and non-medical prescribers.

Click here to download A single competency framework for all prescribers

Additionally, ‘Non-medical prescribing by nurses, optometrists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and radiographers. A quick guide for commissioners. March 2010’provides a national resource to support organisations effectively embed non-medical prescribing into service redesign and aims to increase understanding of how changes to NMP regulations have extended the scope and range of NMP. The guide also provides practical information and links to key policy documents.