Clarity needed about the role of non-medical prescribing leads

Non-medical prescribing leads (NMP leads) make a significant contribution to the development of NMP and its oversight within Trusts, despite lack of clarity about the role and workload and other issues, according to this report of an interview study with 28 NMP leads across one Strategic Health Authority.

The role of the NMP lead included: information and communication between the Trust and prescribers; promoting and co-ordinating NMP and integrating it into service planning; clinical governance; and support and training. There was inconsistency and lack of clarity about the functions and scope of the NMP lead, and dedicated time for the role was often insufficient. The authors conclude that there should be clear national guidelines about the responsibilities, role and workload of NMP leads, and that greater consistency is also needed in clinical governance systems as NMP expands. In particular, all NMPs should be able to review their prescribing data.

Conversely, where strategies for the development of NMP did exist, it was more likely to be embedded within organisations, and practitioners faced fewer barriers.

Courtenay M, Carey N and Stenner K. Non medical prescribing leads’ views on their role and the implementation of non medical prescribing from a multi-organisational perspective. BMC Health Services Research 2011; 11:142.