Nurses and midwives could begin prescribing much earlier in their careers if plans from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) go ahead.
In its latest consultation, the NMC is seeking views on whether it should withdraw standards for medicines management and introduce rules which would allow patients to forego waiting to see a medical prescriber for the medication.
Proposals for the new rules would enable nurses and midwives to build on their training and gain prescribing experience as soon as they qualify, rather than waiting at least two years as current rule dictate.
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NMC chief executive Jackie Smith said: ‘Patients and the public often believe that the majority of nurses and midwives are already able to prescribe and many do not want to wait to see a medical prescriber.
‘That’s why we are seeking views on proposals which would see nurses and midwives equipped with the skills and attributes to make them ‘prescribing ready’ at the point of qualification.’
In addition to prescribing proposals the NMC has also outlined plans which would see its withdrawal of standards for medicines management, instead signposting to other organisations who can produce up to date guidance on safe and effective medicines management practice.
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‘In looking at prescribing we also had to consider whether we are best placed to set the standards in this area,’ Ms Smith said. ‘Prescribing is a skill which crosses professional boundaries and the standards set by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society can apply across all proscribing professions. That’s why we think they are best placed to set the standards in this important area.’
The NMC is also proposing that other healthcare professionals, not just to doctors, are able to support trainee nurse and midwife prescribers, in line with the direction of travel of other healthcare regulators. Consultation will run until 14 September.