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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 Rastrick is Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, NHS England.

She qualified as an occupational therapist in Oxford in 1986, and began her career in the acute hospital sector, moving to practice in community and primary care where she then gained her first general management role.

Suzanne was one of the first allied health professionals to hold a substantive Director of Nursing post, and has since held these roles in both providing and commissioning organisations in the NHS. She has also been Chief Executive of a Primary Care Trust Cluster, and achieved authorisation for a large Clinical Commissioning Group with an integral commissioning support unit.

She has a Non-Executive portfolio in the commercial and not-for-profit housing sector, and sits on a number of national groups including NHS Employers Policy Board, Health Education England AHP Advisory Group, and England Centre for Practice Development National Advisory Board.

Suzanne was appointed as Chief Allied Health Professions Officer for NHS England on 1 September 2014. This role also has key professional leadership relationships to the Department of Health as well as to Health Education England.

Follow Suzanne on Twitter: @SuzanneRastrick