Ministerial approval has been given in the UK to commence preparatory work to take paramedic independent prescribing proposals forward for public consultation.

The Allied Health Professions (AHP) Medicines project is a joint initiative by NHS England and the Department of Health to extend prescribing, supply and administration of medicines to Allied Health Professions, with the aim of facilitating service re-design; increasing patient choice; improving access to medicines; and making the best use of allied health professionals’ skills, whilst maintaining patient safety.

Current proposals that the NHS England AHP Medicines team are focussing on are:

  • Independent prescribing by therapeutic and diagnostic radiographers
  • Independent prescribing by paramedics
  • Supplementary prescribing by dietitians
  • Use of exemptions from Medicines Act Regulations by orthoptists

NHS England, in partnership with the College of Paramedics, the Society and College of Radiographers, the British and Irish Orthoptic Society, and the British Dietetic Association, have developed a case of need for each of the proposals outlined above based on improving quality of care for patients in relation to safety, clinical outcomes and experience, whilst also improving efficiency of service delivery and value for money.

Approval of the cases of need from the NHS England medical and nursing Senior Management teams was received in May, with the Department of Health’s Non-medical Prescribing board approving the cases of need in July.

Ministerial approval has now been received, allowing the commencement of preparatory work to take all four proposals forward to public consultation. The consultations and supporting documents will be developed with the aim of seeking ministerial approval to publish the consultations later in the year. Following public consultation, there will be significant further work to be undertaken, including submission of consultation findings for consideration by the Commission on Human Medicines, who will make recommendations to ministers regarding any potential changes to medicines legislation in line with the above proposals.

The College of Paramedics is working with the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) and Health Education England (HEE) as funding partners to provide a Project Officer who will work with NHS England’s Allied Health Professions (AHP) Medicines Project Lead.