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Physiotherapists may get prescribing powers


Physiotherapists could soon be given the right to prescribe medication in the same way as nurses and pharmacists.

Proposals being considered by the Department of Health would see the law changed to allow physiotherapists to independently prescribe drugs.

Under the current system, physiotherapists can only hand out prescriptions if they have written permission from a doctor.

Nurses were given prescribing powers in the 1990s, and advocates now hope that the proposed reforms will help to improve patient care and allow faster access to treatment.

The move could see specially trained physiotherapists able to recommend medication for conditions including respiratory diseases and neurological illnesses, as well as treatment for pain relief.

An online consultation has been opened into the proposals, which will be available until December 8.

Supporters of the plans include the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, which has campaigned for the changes to be introduced.

Chairwoman Ann Green said the consultation was “a major step forward towards the goal of improving patient care delivered by physiotherapists”.

<> (Chartered Society of Physiotherapy)


Readers' comments (3)

  • Why not? I wholeheartedly agree with this! The same quals we undertake can easily be undertaken by them, and can easily be tailored. That way they can prescribe the drugs specific to their own work to benefit their patients the same way we do.

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  • My only concern is that the drugs they will prescribe will be limited, so I hope that the prescribing course concentrates heavily on drug interactions with the diverse number of other drugs that will be prescribed. Other than thay I have no problem with it, and it should benefit patients and save doctor and patient time

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  • The cautionary word on ensuring training around interactions is spot on but lets not forget that our colleagues in Pharmacy not only have a comprehensive checking strategy as part of the dispensing process but also offer a robust Medicines Information service that covers potential interaction issues. There is no suggestion that physios or indeed any prescriber should have a 100% knowledge of all medications without recourse to research and support.

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