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Changes in medicines legislation for Dietitians, Orthoptists and Therapeutic Radiographers

Patients under the care of a suitably trained and qualified Dietitian, Orthoptist or Therapeutic Radiographer will shortly be able to access some of their medication without visiting a doctor, thanks to changes in legislation.

Following an announcement today by George Freeman MP, Minister for Life Sciences, patients will have timely access to the medicines they need and more choice in how they obtain them.

The changes to legislation will introduce independent prescribing responsibilities for Therapeutic Radiographers and supplementary prescribing responsibilities for Dietitians. They will also enable Orthoptists to supply and administer medicines under exemptions within Human Medicines Regulations.

Before introducing the changes to their practice, eligible practitioners need to successfully complete a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) approved training programme and have this qualification marked against their name on the professional register.

Life Sciences Minister George Freeman MP said: “Expanding prescribing, supply and administration responsibilities to a wider group of healthcare professionals such as Therapeutic Radiographers, Dietitians and Orthoptists is good news for patients who will be able to access high quality services more quickly and conveniently. It will also help to drive up efficiency by freeing up doctors’ time to care for patients with more complex health care needs and reduce bureaucracy.”

Since October 2013, NHS England has been working closely with the Department of Health, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the relevant professional bodies to achieve these legislative changes.

Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, NHS England, said: “NHS England has been advocating for more opportunities for allied health professionals to make use of the full range of their immense skills, so we welcome this announcement which will give patients receiving care from Dietitians, Orthoptists and Therapeutic Radiographers more timely access to the medicines they need.

“It will help develop a more flexible workforce, able to make better use of their skills and innovate to provide services more responsive to the needs of patients, whilst also being cost effective.”

Following amendments to the UK-wide legislation, eligible practitioners will be able to undertake training programmes as they are approved by the HCPC over the next 18 months. The NHS regulations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are matters for consideration by the relevant Devolved Administrations.

Today NHS England has published summaries of the responses to the consultations which were held in relation to these changes and can be accessed on the NHS England website along with links to a series of supporting documents.

These reforms are a part of NHS England’s commitment to deliver high quality care.

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One comment

  1. Truly fantastic news for patients. All AHPs work hard to improve the health and wellbeing of patients in their care. This change in legislation will enable Dietitians, Orthoptists and Therapeutic Radiographers to make a real difference to services, and so that patients in their care can have access to the medicines they need when they need them.