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Independent Prescribing

Independent Prescribing

Independent Prescribing for podiatrists and physiotherapists

Following Ministerial approval granted on 24th July 2012, the medicines legislation was finally amended on 20th August 2013, permitting podiatrists and physiotherapists the right to become independent prescribers. 

Under the terms of the Human Medicines (Amendment) Regulations 2013, Statutory Instrument 2013 No. 1855, appropriately qualified podiatrists and physiotherapists, as independent prescribers, may access medicines from within the British National Formulary, with the exception of unlicensed medicines and controlled drugs (which are specified in a separate, limited, list).   Independent prescriber podiatrists and physiotherapists may also mix medicines where appropriate.

However, the Commission on Human Medicines required the professional bodies to issue statements on scope of practice.  The College of Podiatry endorsed the following statement on the scope of prescribing practice:
“it is necessary to direct those members  who are engaged in the practice of prescribing of medicines to ensure that they concern themselves only with those medicines which are relevant to the treatment of disorders affecting the foot and associated structures, in line with current practice and consistent with published professional guidance.   

Should a prescriber prescribe in a capacity other than that of a podiatrist they will have no redress to the Society for support should that practice be brought into question or a claim be brought against them.”

Separate Home Office controlled drugs regulations are required to enable access to the approved list of controlled drugs, which is currently awaited.  Until such time as these regulations are enacted, independent prescriber podiatrists must wait before seeking to prescribe any of the controlled drugs identified on the list:  Temazepam (oral), Lorazepam (oral), Diazepam (oral), Dihydrocodeine.
As from January 2014 university programmes in receipt of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) approval have been available for those podiatrists or physiotherapists wishing to undertake training and education as independent/supplementary prescriber s.  There are two programmes available.  A conversion programme is available which enables those practitioners who have already become supplementary prescribers to convert to independent prescriber status (details enclosed).  The full programme is available for podiatrists or physiotherapists who are not already supplementary prescribers to undertake training and education as both supplementary and independent prescribers (details included).

Also published on 20th August 2013, in tandem with the changes to legislation, were the Health and Care Professions Council Standards for Prescribing and the Allied Health Professional Federation Outline Curricular Framework documents (for the full programme and the conversion programme).

The outline curricular framework documents are guides for the Higher Education Institutions in devising the courses (copies enclosed). 

Medicines and Medical Devices Committee, College of Podiatry © 2014