This feature article looks at how, in the face of opposition from the medical profession, non-medical prescribing has been introduced in stages. The predicted problems and disasters have not materialised: one, and only one, case of inappropriate prescribing has come before the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC’s) fitness to practice panel and Molly Courtenay points out that there is no evidence that nurses work outside their competence or make clinically inappropriate decisions. Her work has shown that doctors now seem to be happy about the nurses that they work with and know prescribing, but are more worried about nurse prescribing in general – and the possibility of ‘loose cannons’.
Bill Beeby, who chairs the prescribing subcommittee of the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee, is quoted as saying that all prescribers have to work within their knowledge and competencies and as long as nurse prescribers do that, then there are no issues.
Hawkes N. Handing over the prescription pad. BMJ 2009; 339:b4835.