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Supplementary prescribing on target for 2004 start date

A 12-week public consultation on the government's proposals for allied health professional supplementary prescribers is due to be launched this summer.

No firm date has been set yet but Kay East, chief health professions officer at the Department of Health, encouraged CSP members to respond to the document once it was published. 'I know that replies will be welcomed from organisations and individuals,' she said.

Responses will be discussed with the committee on the safety of medicines before the proposals are put to ministers for agreement.

Meanwhile, work developing a national curriculum framework for supplementary prescribing is on schedule; higher education institutions (HEIs) should be rolling out courses by September, said Pen Robinson, director of CSP member networks and relations.

Although HEIs will be able to develop courses to meet local needs, all courses will include taught modules and 'at least 12 days practical experience "back at base", supervised by a nominated medical practitioner,' Pen said.

While prescribing is not an area that all physios will want to be involved in, supplementary prescribing would be useful for some, including those involved in the management of a range of chronic conditions.

Physios embarking on a prescribing course will need the full support of their trust, said Pen, and those interested in adding prescribing to their skills will have to link it with the work they are doing in order to convince trusts that patient care will benefit.

Funding for courses, which will enable radiographers and podiatrists as well as physios to train as supplementary prescribers, will be available from local workforce development confederations.

Supplementary prescribing will allow physios to take over the care of patients whose initial diagnosis has been made by an independent prescriber (for example, a doctor). Supplementary prescribers will be able to monitor and change medications within the boundaries of a patient's clinical management plan.

Copies of the public consultation document on supplementary prescribing will be available at: www.mhra.gov.uk

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