Paramedic prescribing into action

The Chief Allied Health Professions Officer for England welcomes the announcement that Paramedics will be able to train to be independent and supplementary prescribers:

I am very proud to represent the Paramedic profession and this development is a significant step forward in ensuring that people receive timely medicines.

Prescribing responsibilities for paramedics will make a difference to the way in which they support patients, not just within the ambulance service, but in communities, general practice and in emergency departments.

Since the publication of AHPs into Action we have been championing the contribution AHPs can make to transforming health, care and wellbeing and the aims of the Five Year Forward View.  One of the priorities we identified was that AHPs skills should be further developed.  Extending prescribing responsibilities to paramedics working at an advanced level demonstrates the progress we are making.

Independent prescribing by paramedics will offer better care for patients through timely access to the right medicines within a range of settings.

AHPs into Action identifies that AHPs can have a significant impact in providing solutions to general practice and emergency care. As front line clinicians, paramedics with prescribing responsibilities are ideally placed to reduce unnecessary admissions to hospital, support attendance at A&E, and ease pressure on GP practices.  This will enhance patient care and experience, keep care closer to home, and make better use of paramedics’ skills.

We know that this development will be welcomed by organisations and the public alike.

Public consultation on the proposals confirmed that 96% of organisations and 90% of individual responses were in favour of independent prescribing by paramedics. The Chief Professions Officers’ Medicines Mechanisms team have worked tirelessly leading up to the approval by Ministers. This process has taken over two years and I would personally like to thank the team for their efforts. This achievement would not have been possible without the support and contribution of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and the College of Paramedics.

This is an exciting time for the Paramedic profession.  There is still much to be done to realise the full potential of paramedic prescribing responsibilities, including the development and approval of education programmes and changes to local care pathways.

Given the commitment and dedication that we have seen so far in the development and support of independent prescribing, I have no doubt that within the next year we will see results.

Suzanne Rastrick

Suzanne qualified as an Occupational Therapist from Oxford. Suzanne was the first Allied Health Professional (AHP) to hold a substantive Director of Nursing post in both provider and commissioning organisations. She became the Chief Executive of a Primary Care Trust, where a particular highlight was having leadership responsibility for delivering health resilience and health ‘blue light’ services during the Olympic sailing events held in Dorset in 2012. She subsequently gained authorisation for a large Clinical Commissioning Group, before moving to her current post with NHS England. She was appointed as Chief Allied Health Professions Officer for England in September 2014.

In 2017 Suzanne launched the first AHP strategy for England which has been recognised as ground-breaking in policy development from its use of crowdsourcing. Building on this, Suzanne published the second AHP strategy – ‘AHPs Deliver’ in June 2022. This iteration had a greater emphasis on patient, public voice and specifically the inclusion of those who may be digitally excluded along with communities who may find it difficult to connect with traditional consultation methods. The result is a national strategy crowdsourced from diverse populations for people and communities AHPs serve.

For over three decades, Suzanne has held non-executive portfolios outside of the NHS, including audit committee chair roles, predominantly in the housing and charitable sector. Suzanne was recognised as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s birthday honours list 2019. In 2023 Suzanne was awarded a Visiting Professor role at St George’s, University of London and at Oxford Brookes University.

Follow Suzanne on Twitter/X @SuzanneRastrick or Instagram @chief_ahp_officer_england