Have your say on improved access to medicines

The NHS is introducing new ways of making care more effective and accessible.

New legislation announced on 26 February 2016 will extend prescribing responsibilities to therapeutic radiographers and dietitians as well as enabling orthoptists to supply and administer some medicines without the need for a prescription.

By enabling more health professionals to become involved in the use of medicines, new ways of delivering care will be facilitated which will create a more positive experience for patients.

Therapeutic radiographers, dietitians and orthoptists will undertake additional training to enable them to join doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, dentists and others, who are already involved in contributing to more timely and appropriate access to medicines.

This will mean:

  • Patients have better access to medicines when they are needed, reducing unnecessary delays and potentially worsening symptoms.
  • Barriers to accessing medicines will be reduced, improving the efficiency and patient experience of care delivery.
  • The choice of medicines will be better tailored to the individual, with management plans developed in collaboration with patients and carers, to address their needs.
  • More health professionals with additional and appropriate skills are directly involved in the use of medicines, reducing the risk of avoidable errors.
  • Patients will have more time for informed discussion about their medicines, increasing their understanding and involvement, maximising the benefits of their medicines.

As described by NHS England’s Helen Marriott, the improved access to medicines will not happen overnight.

Over the next 18 months therapeutic radiographers, dietitians and orthoptists will be involved in additional training and supervision to ensure that the treatment of choice is as safe and appropriate as possible.

Patients and the public have the opportunity to find out more from their local NHS commissioners and service providers through local conversations about the implications of local initiatives to improve access to medicines.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is hosting a consultation, to ensure professionals meet the needs and requirements of present day prescribing.

The RPS consultation closes on 15 April 2016. This is your opportunity to ensure that your views are listened to and taken into account.

There are many different ways for the public to get involved, either through conversations with your local NHS or via consultations such as this one.

Graham Prestwich

Graham Prestwich is Lay Member NHS England Allied Health Professions (AHP) Medicines Project Board.

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  1. L Mitchell says:

    NHS England need to take ODPs seriously, yes we are an AHP minority but we are cliniically experts within our fields. We as a profession have been registered with the HCPC now since 2004, and our roles are forever expanding. More and more theatres have ODPs dominating the clincal environment,performing to a high competent level, performing the same packages as our nursing collegues to not be treated as an equal. The need for ODPs to be included in the medicines management is buisness critical for all Trusts. ODPs are professionals working in emergency acute settings, are willing to undertake the extra training and skills that are required. We as a profession should be acknowledge as an Allied Healthcare Professionals.
    I find 12 years on from registration we are still subjected to professional snobbery from nursing and AHPs when we are the experts in our field

  2. Kay Fisher says:

    Seriously….. ODP’s need to be included on this list. When will this happen as we already perform advanced roles and do everything else a registered nurse can legally do. NHS England… When will you move forward with this?

  3. SMB says:

    Please consider including Operating Department Practitioners in the extension of prescribing duties; we are registered healthcare professionals working in acute clinical areas yet our lack of ability to prescribe holds us back not only from daily practice, but also in pursuing advanced clinical roles.

  4. Sarah Anderson says:

    When will the law be changed to enable registered ODP working in advanced roles to undertake prescribing?

  5. Rashda Mir says:

    Please advise as to why Operating Department Practitioners (ODP) are left out of this list. We deal with drugs on a daily basis in theatres and recovery but are unable to apply for most advanced roles because we are not able to prescribe. This is holding our profession back.

    Please reconsider the list and add the ODP’s to the list therefore allowing us as a professional to move forward into advanced roles.

    Thank you

  6. Robbie Turner says:

    Informative blog Graham and this development is to be welcomed.

    What’s also very important is how the system supports these professionals with new prescribing rights to use them. What we’ve seen with previous additions to the types of professionals able to prescribe is that there has not been the impact we would have expected.

    There are still far too few pharmacists able to prescribe despite the change to legislation been made many years ago. Solving this would go a some way to helping improve the challenges seen in primary care.

  7. Carol Munt says:

    It will be good to see Physician Associates extended the same responsibility before too long.

  8. Mark says:

    Improving access to medicines may be laudable but without an accompanying focus on supporting patients to take them (where agreed), may well lead to yet more waste.