Nurse Prescribing Legislation Introduced

  • Bill English

Health Minister Bill English said nurse prescribing had moved a step closer today with the introduction of legislation to Parliament which will see nurses and other health professionals given limited rights to prescribe medicines

"The Medicines Amendment Bill will allow for the development of regulations for extending independent prescribing rights to a variety of registered health professionals, such as nurses.

"This has the potential to provide great benefits to the health sector by improving access to services, and creating more flexibility in the ways that health services are delivered to the community.

"The Bill also allow for regulations with regard to use of standing orders, which are written instructions by medical practitioners, dentists or midwifes, giving explicit instructions on how medicines can be selected and administered, in that person's absence. For example, an ambulance officer attending an acutely ill person in their home, where the patient could die if not treated immediately."

"The Ministry of Health is already undertaking policy work on the extension of independent prescribing rights to nurses practising in the areas of aged care and child family health. The outcome of this work will be presented to Cabinet in April 1999," said Mr English.