Nurse prescribers in the UK

Nurse prescribing in the UK – where did it start?

In the beginning

It sounds unbelieveable, but Nurses could not always precribe. It was in 1998 that they were given access to a limited formulary. It was only due to loobying by Baroness Cumberlege and the RCN that this took place. Presumably Doctor’s groups were unimpressed with this development.

Where are we now?

Nurse prescribing is now well established. According to the NMC there are over 55,000 nurse and midwifery prescribers in the country. Over 13 million items a year are prescribed by Nurse prescribers according to the NHS prescription authority.

What’s the difference?

Nurse Independent Prescribers

They are allowed to prescribe any drugs within their clnical competence. Since the ruling in 2006 they have been able to prescribe any drug within the BNF. This has sometimes caused friction with Doctors ! Since 2012 they have also been able to prescribe controlled drugs.

Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribers

These fall under the NIPs, but are restricted to prescribing only from the Nursing Formulary for Community Practitioners. This group includes health visitors, district and school nurses.

Nurse Supplementary Prescribing

This a form of a voluntary prescribing partnership between a doctor and a nurse where the supplementary nurse prescriber has the ability to prescribe any drug listed in a patient-specific clinical management plan. The patient must have a definite diagnosis given by the doctor.

How can I qualify as a nurse prescriber?

A NMC  accredited  prescribing  course  through  a  UK  university must be done. All nurses who complete the  NMC qualification  can prescribe independently as well as in a supplementary capacity.