More UK health professionals will be able to prescribe medicines

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Even more health professionals will be able to prescribe medicines under new plans announced today by Health Secretary, John Reid.

The proposals recommend that physiotherapists, radiographers, chiropodists and optometrists should be able to prescribe medicines, in partnership with a doctor, to help treat and manage conditions such as glaucoma, chronic back pain and the effects of multiple sclerosis, as well as providing pain relief for patients attending radiography sessions.

The proposals are part of a wider push to expand the roles and responsibilities of staff so that patients receive better care, faster. By extending the power to prescribe to more health professionals, patients will be able to get the medicines they need more easily.

Over 1400 nurses have already qualified and registered as nurse supplementary prescribers. The first pharmacist supplementary prescribers qualified in February 2004, and around 100 pharmacists are registered as supplementary prescribers.

John Reid said:

"Our proposals will enable more health professionals, working in partnership with doctors, to help patients get the right medicine more easily than ever before. This is part of our commitment to extend the responsibilities and roles of all NHS staff. By enabling all NHS staff to be all that they can be, NHS patients will be able to get the full benefit of the NHS' highly skilled workforce".

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