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Independent Prescribing

Independent Prescribing

New laws that came into force on Independent Prescribing for podiatrists

On 24th July 2012, Lord Howe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department of Health) announced Ministerial approval for independent prescribing by podiatrists and physiotherapists.  Amendment to the Medicines Act (1968) has been eagerly awaited since that time, but has now been scheduled to be laid in Parliament prior to the summer recess and to come into force in August 2013.

College work

The College of Podiatry, working in close conjunction with the Department of Health and Health and Care Professions Council, has now published its ‘ Good Practice in Prescribing and Medicines Management Guidance ’ .

It constitutes the formal professional guidance document on prescribing and medicines management for all members of the College of Podiatry and Society of Chiropodist & Podiatrists.   It is of particular importance to podiatrists using medicines, and to podiatrist prescribers in particular.

The College did contributed also  last year on EAAD and this year it continues.

The most important part was the materials for EAAD have now been published on the DH website https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/european-antibiotic-awareness-day-resources-for-primary-and-secondary-care

Matthew Fitzpatrick from The College of Podiatry and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Podiatric Medicine said: " The new legislation will particularly benefit people with diabetic infections of the feet, acute infections such as wounds and ingrown toenails, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis of the foot and ankle and dermatological conditions of the feet, such as fungal infections. These patients, if required, will now be able to receive medicines more promptly."

Joanna Brown, chief executive of The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists added:"Providing independent prescribing rights to health professionals such as podiatrists will provide patients with more prompt and better access to treatment. It will also help to reduce the pressure on other health care professionals." 


Podiatrists Practise

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) will publish the required Standards of Prescribing once the legislation is in place. In order for the higher education institutions (universities) to prepare education and training programmes in independent prescribing which meet these Standards of Prescribing , they must follow the requirements set out in the Outline Curricular Framework documents, which have been published by the Allied Health Professions Federation.  

There are two documents.  One relates to the ‘conversion programme’, which all current supplementary prescriber podiatrists must undertake in order to qualify as independent prescriber podiatrists.

The other document provides the requirements for courses designed to enable podiatrists who are not yet prescribers to train as supplementary and independent prescribers.  It is important to note that the courses in independent prescribing for podiatrists will only become available once the HCPC publishes the Standards of Prescribing and has validated the courses proposed by the universities.  Validation of courses by the HCPC will take time, and it is anticipated that courses will become available to podiatrists and physiotherapists by January 2014 at the very earliest.   

It constitutes the formal professional guidance document on prescribing and medicines management for all members of the College of Podiatry and Society of Chiropodist & Podiatrists.   It is of particular importance to podiatrists using medicines, and to podiatrist prescribers in particular.

It is expected that patients will start to reap the benefits from summer next year when the first wave of podiatrists will have passed their courses.  Independent prescribing rights will be granted to registered podiatrists who undertake newly approved education programmes which will commence from early 2014. These programmes will be provided by universities. Upon successful completion of the programme, the podiatrist will have their entry on the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) register annotated to indicate they are able to independently prescribe. The HCPC regulates health and care professions in the UK. Podiatrists practise within the NHS as well as in the private setting, dealing with the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of feet and the lower limb. There are an estimated 11.2 million patient visits to podiatrists each year, for a range of foot conditions such as arthritic disorders
in the lower limb, infections of the feet and sports injuries.

Podiatrists have a long history of post-registration education and training in access, supply and administration of prescription only (and pharmacy only) medicines. Approval for use of local anaesthetics agents was provided to the profession in 1980 and since 2005 podiatrists have had supplementary prescribing responsibilities under The Medicines for Human Use (Prescribing) Order 2005 (SI No 765). Pharmacology also forms part of the pre-registration podiatry qualification.


Alongside podiatry, the planned changes would also give physiotherapists independent prescribing responsibilities. Health care professions, in addition to medical prescribers like doctors and dentists, that have independent prescribing responsibilties include nurses, pharmacists and optometrists.


Further guidance on policy and standards is available to members at the ‘Medicines and Medical Devices’ section of the members webpages. 



Notes to editors

Podiatrists who complete the newly developed education programmes in independent prescribing will be able to prescribe relevant medicines from the British National Formulary.