Non-medical prescribing by community Macmillan nurses

Cancer patients are getting faster access to treatment, and therefore symptom relief, as a result of non-medical prescribing, according to an account of its introduction into a community-based team of Macmillan clinical nurse specialists.

Two nurses in the team, which covers two Trusts, have qualified as independent prescribers, with others undergoing the training. They describe the now-familiar issues of communication and access to medical records. The team only has limited access to information held by GPs, such as pathology results, which means they have had to adopt a cautious approach to their prescribing; they hope to overcome some of these barriers with new systems, including better IT access.

Helen Coxon, Senior Community Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nottingham CityCare Partnership, one of the authors of the article, told the ANP that the team has recently been given access to their patients’ electronic hospital records. This means they can get blood and other pathology results, helping them make informed and safe prescribing decisions. As for the controlled drugs changes, their employing organisation is carrying out a risk assessment, looking at risks to patients and staff, and assessing competencies, before making a decision.