Positive reactions to plans for physiotherapist and podiatrist prescribing

The news that suitably trained and qualified physiotherapists and podiatrists could be prescribing independently, in a similar way to nurses and pharmacists, by 2014 seems to have been greeted largely positively.

The Department of Health (DH) says that appropriately qualified podiatrists and physiotherapists will be able to prescribe any licensed medicine as long as it falls within “their individual area of competence and respective scopes of practice”, which it defines in general terms. Controlled drugs are not included at present and will be considered separately.

The summaries of the responses to the consultations held at the end of last year, are a striking reminder of how far non-medical prescribing has come since its early days. Most respondents supported one of the options for extending prescribing and many supported prescribing from the full formulary, although the BMA and some Royal Colleges supported the option of specified conditions from a limited formulary, often seen as restrictive and inflexible by proponents of the first option.