23 April: CD changes come into effect

The long-awaited Statutory Instrument, needed to allow nurse and pharmacist independent prescribing of controlled drugs, and regularise the situation about mixing of medicines containing them, came into effect on 23 April 2012. The relevant changes to medicines legislation were made some years ago, but where controlled drugs are involved, Home Office legislation also needs updating and that has been a slow process under successive governments.

ANP Chair Dr Barbara Stuttle said, “At last, we have some excellent news. Patients will benefit as independent nurse prescribers will be able to provide the right care at the right time. Our thanks go to Baroness Cumberlege, Chris Beasley, Matt Griffiths and others, who have lobbied tirelessly over many years. At the ANP, we have also been lobbying, and are delighted that the frustrating wait to put in place something that will benefit patients, and which all parties agreed to years ago”.

The NMC said before the SI was passed that it would provide information about the changes once it had heard from the Department of Health. The situation is complex and advice from the regulators will be needed.