Controlled drugs: keeping up the pressure

Another parliamentary question has been asked about Home Office plans to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 to provide for the prescribing of more controlled drugs by nurse and pharmacist independent prescribers, and whether there will be a statement from the Secretary of State.

Late last year, ANP patron Baroness Cumberlege asked a parliamentary question about the changes needed to amend the Act to allow nurse and pharmacist independent prescribers to prescribe from the whole formulary, including controlled drugs (see here) and it looked as though legislation was imminent (see here).

Since then, however, despite the encouraging signs, there has been no change. On 11 March, Anne Milton, who is Shadow Minister for Health, asked the latest question. Matt Griffiths, ANP committee member and visiting professor of prescribing and medicines management at the University of Northampton and the University of the West of England, says, “If the legislation is not passed before the election is called, this will result in a poorer service for patients for a longer period of time. If only the politicians responsible were able to see the effect of these delays on patients, I am sure that they would see this issue as being of higher priority”.