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Quarter of non-medical prescribers not currently prescribing

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An audit of non-medical prescribers at an acute hospital trust found one quarter were not continuing to prescribe.

The audit, carried out at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust and presented at the NHS North WestPrescribing for Success conference last week, revealed that 14 out of 54 registered non medical prescribers were not currently prescribing.

The reasons included issues with using the homecare company, one pharmacist was not using their supplementary prescribing qualification due to medical prescribers being unavailable, and one nurse prescriber no longer had a clinical role.

Fifteen sets of completed audit forms were returned. These 15 staff members carried out a total of 589 prescribing episodes over the two weeks studied, and generally they were prescribing drugs relevant to a specific clinical indication or section of the British National Formulary. Some, usually those working in emergency/minor injuries, prescribed across a number of BNF categories.

Many prescribers were using their qualification less formally, providing telephone and face to face advice to GPs and hospital prescribing colleagues, for patients in their care.

Twelve prescribers always used licensed medicines for licensed indications, while three used some licensed medicines “off-label”. One used supplementary and 14 used independent prescribing.

The audit was presented at the trust’s non medical prescribing CPD event and the trust plans to repeat it in the coming months.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I would love to prescribe. It work greatly enhance my role and I am competent already to choose medications in various primary care areas, yet my employer will not support me. I have searched for courses and have been willing to pay myself, but without a willing medical practitioner to supervise me I am stuck.

    I am constantly coming across situations where I have extended my training and know more than the GPs what to and when to prescribe, yet I am unable to act and this leaves my accountability in dispute because I am accountable to the patient, the GP does not have the knowledge or is too busy to act and I have to miss opportunities to help control blood pressure, reduced CVD risk according to guidelines as well as constantly not using my time effectively by standing outside the doors of GPs to sign a script they have trusted me to initiate. Damn frustrating!

    When I have asked for help from the PCT, or the NMC, or the RCN all I get is ask your employer when it my employer causing the problem in the first place.

    This also has the knock on effect of preventing a pro active nurse, willing to push boundaries, out of the the very system we are needed to move to to aid more efficient review and care of patients with certain conditions I am competant to deal with.

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