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Other professionals ‘may prescribe’


Podiatrists, who treat ailments of the foot and lower leg, and physiotherapists may be allowed to prescribe patients medication, according to the Health Service Journal.

Industry professionals have been asked by the Department of Health to list conditions for which they would issue drugs, as well as which drugs they would be prepared to administer, the journal reported.

The UK currently has 42,000 physiotherapists and 12,000 podiatrists, who may join the 55,000 nurses and 1,000 pharmacists who can already write out prescriptions.

The journal said the Department of Health suggested that prescriptions can be issued if the professionals had at least three years’ experience in their field and were approved to prescribe by their employers.

Government consultation documents say that granting power to prescribe drugs could allow “innovative service redesign” in the two professions, such as improving how people with diabetes are cared for or reducing the number of unnecessary appointments.

Life is made more difficult for patients because podiatrists and physiotherapists cannot prescribe them drugs, according to the department.

And it said that leaving things as they are means “the creation of innovative new care pathways will continue to be limited, creating less choice and ongoing unnecessary costs for commissioners”.

The work of both physiotherapists and podiatrists is overseen by the Health Professions Council.

Copyright Press Association 2010

Department of Health

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