Physiotherapists and podiatrists to be able to prescribe drugs

Physiotherapists and podiatrists are to be able to prescribe their patients with medicines including painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, it has been announced by the Department of Health.Physiotherapists and podiatrists to be able to prescribe drugsIt will mean that podiatrists and physiotherapists will no longer have to refer their patients back to a doctor if medication is needed.

Physiotherapists and podiatrists will join some senior nurses and pharmacists who already have prescribing powers in the first scheme of its kind in the world.

Under the new legislation, physiotherapists who have had extra training will be able to prescribe medicines for issues such as chronic pain and other conditions where appropriate.

A physiotherapist specialising in respiratory conditions would be able to prescribe asthma medication.

However the drugs each will be able to prescribe will be limited to their own speciality, a spokesman for the Department of Health said.

The College of Podiatry said the move will particularly benefit diabetic patients with infections of the feet and people suffering from other infections such as wounds and ingrown toenails and fungal infections.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) welcomed the move, saying it will mean that patients are offered quicker and more direct access to the medicines and treatment they need.

Dr Helena Johnson, chairman of the CSP, said: “Giving physiotherapists the opportunity to prescribe independently will hugely improve the care we can provide in the future.

“Patients will now receive a more streamlined and efficient service, meaning they get the medicines they need more immediately.  An unnecessary burden will be removed from doctors, with physiotherapists taking full responsibility and accountability for the prescribing decisions they make.”

“For patients, the chance of faster relief from pain or other symptoms will also mean many can benefit more quickly from their physiotherapy treatment.”

Alison Wishart, chairman of the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, said: “Independent prescribing provides podiatrists with the opportunity to deliver more flexible services for patients – ensuring timely access to medicines, care closer to home and enabling innovation.”

The new legislation is expected to come into effect in April next year, with the first intake of podiatrists and physiotherapists to go into Health Professions Council-approved education programmes in autumn 2013.


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