Health pros get prescribing powers

Physiotherapists, radiographers, chiropodists and optometrists were given
powers to prescribe medicines by the Government in May.

The four groups will be able to prescribe medicines, in partnership with a
doctor, to help treat and manage conditions such as glaucoma, chronic back pain
and the effects of multiple sclerosis, as well as providing pain relief for
patients attending radiography sessions, said the Department of Health.

More than 1,400 nurses are now registered as nurse supplementary
prescribers, and the first pharmacist supplementary prescribers qualified in
February 2004, it added.

The move is part of a package of measures by the Government to ease the
workload of GPs and make it easier for the public to get access to prescribed
medicines, normally repeat prescriptions.

"By enabling NHS staff to be all they can be, patients will get the
full benefit of the NHS’ highly-skilled workforce," said health secretary
John Reid.

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