Efforts to cut costs in the NHS will require a significant extension of nurse prescribing, one of the NHS quality and productivity leads has said.
NHS Ashton, Wigan and Leigh chief executive Peter Rowe has been asked by the Department of Health to find savings in the area of medicines and prescription.
Mr Rowe told Nursing Times wider and earlier access to appropriate medicines would help keep people out of expensive acute settings.
He said: “Non-medical prescribing will be an important element. We need to demystify access to medicines and make them available through more channels.”
Research has also suggested nurses are more likely than GPs to follow guidelines on prescribing patients with cheaper generic alternatives to branded drugs (news, 22 January 2008, page 3).
The Department of Health’s quality, improvement, prevention and productivity programme is also asking trusts to extend enhanced recovery programmes which, usually led by nurses, can reduce length of stay after surgery.