Audit of non-medical prescribing in a mental health trust

A questionnaire survey of nurse and pharmacist prescribers within one mental health trust has concluded that although there is a high degree of compliance with the UK standards adopted by the trust, clinical supervision and training needs improving to meet them fully. Additional regular monitoring arrangements would ensure compliance.

Of the 24 non-medical prescribers included, 18 nurses and two pharmacists replied and their answers revealed two groups – high-frequency and lower-frequency prescribers (including the two pharmacists). The high-frequency prescribers were specialists, working in areas such as mental health services for older people, and were prescribing repeat or maintenance specialist medications whereas the lower-frequency prescribers started treatments themselves.

The authors say that the shortfall in supervision could be because of a lack or supervisors, lack of training for them or simply a lack of availability of supervision. Although the respondents were positive about the benefits of non-medical prescribing, 60% believed that training and supervision had shortfalls.

Some conflict with psychiatrists was reported but all respondents said they would seek advice from psychiatrists when necessary.

Gumber R, Khoosal D and Gajebasia N. Non-medical prescribing: audit, practice and views. J Psychiatr Men Health Nurs 2011; published online 18 July.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2850.2011.01779.x.