UK nurses, pharmacists to prescribe drugs

Nov. 11, 2005 at 10:30 PM
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LONDON, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Doctors in Britain are protesting a government plan that would allow nurses and pharmacists to prescribe medicines.

James Johnson, chairman of the British Medical Association, has called the plan dangerous and irresponsible and said doctors had called for an urgent meeting with Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, the Daily Telegraph Friday.

"It is difficult to see how health care professionals who are not trained to diagnose disease can safely prescribe appropriate treatment," Johnson said.

Next spring, some nurse prescribers and pharmacists are scheduled to be to prescribe any licensed medicine for any medical condition, with the exception of some drugs, government officials said.

Nurses and pharmacists already prescribe a limited number of drugs.

"They (patients) will now get even better care and faster access to medicines and research shows that nurse prescribing is safe, cost effective and popular with patients," said Beverly Malone, of the Royal College of Nursing.

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