The Department of Health has announced that physiotherapists and podiatrists in England will in the future be able prescribe medicines to patients. It is anticipated that this will take effect following new legislation next April and be rolled out in 2014.
Although the changes are still to be approved by Parliament it gives the green light to a long running campaign. Senior Nurses, following suitable training, have had the same powers since 2002.
It is hoped that this will provide a more effective service for patients and will clearly relieve GP lists if physiotherapists and podiatrists have the ability, to use their skills and experience, to prescribe medication for patients.
Once the changes are implemented podiatrists, who for example treat diabetic patients, would be able to prescribe medication for wounds, fungal infections and ingrown toenails. Physiotherapists would be able to prescribe medication for chronic pain and respiratory diseases such as asthma.
These proposed changes will only work effectively as long as the physiotherapist and podiatrists have received appropriate training and have the requisite experience to recognise the need to refer the patient back to a GP or Consultant in a timely manner where there are ongoing and unresolved symptoms which need further specialist input.
The decision appears to have been welcomed by both the College of Podiatry and also Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.
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Author: Kerry Fifield