The Board of the College of Paramedics is delighted that changes to legislation have been laid, and which come into force on the 1st April, to enable paramedics to independently prescribe medicines. This is great news for patients and the profession and is the culmination of many years of preparatory work. The Board is indebted to NHS England for its leadership and guidance during this first part of the project particularly to Helen Marriott, Shelagh Morris, Dianne Hogg and Suzanne Rastrick.
There is still a long way to go on this journey towards prescribing for paramedics. The College of Paramedics is working hard, alongside NHS England, and with the continued support from other AHP Professional Bodies to ensure that paramedics understand what yet needs to be accomplished and what the changes to legislation means for the profession. It encourages all paramedics to visit the College’s prescribing webpage which can be found under the ‘Professional Development’ section of www.collegeofparamedics.co.uk and which contains a guide to implementing paramedic prescribing within the NHS in the UK and the practice guidance for paramedic independent and supplementary prescribers.
It will most likely be early 2019 before the first paramedics complete the first education programmes and are able to prescribe in practice as there are a number of milestones which need to be reached before training can begin. For example, we must wait for the education programmes to be approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) before training starts, and without which paramedics will not be able to annotate their registration as prescribers. It is only after approval of programmes that eligible paramedics can qualify as prescribers through successful completion of a higher education module at master’s level.
The clinical settings in which advanced paramedics practice will be central to the roll-out of paramedic independent prescribing. Clinical settings that already deploy prescribers, and have the appropriate procedures and governance arrangements in place, and in which some advanced paramedics already work, such as emergency departments, general practice and urgent care centres, are the most likely places where advanced paramedics will practice as independent prescribers in the early days of paramedic prescribing. This stepped approach will enable other clinical settings to develop prescribing roles and ensure that the enhanced governance frameworks are in place to eventually take advantage of the potential of their advanced paramedics as independent prescribers.
Over time and once fully implemented, more patients will experience care in the most appropriate place; benefit from safe and timely access to medicines, and ultimately have better outcomes. Advanced paramedics who are able to prescribe will play an important role as part of the multi-professional team and further contribute to meeting urgent demand on health services.
This is good news for patients and their families and also for paramedics. The College of Paramedics believes this is a huge endorsement for the paramedic profession and the role it plays in providing safe, high quality care for patients in urgent and emergency care. The profession has progressed rapidly since professional registration in 2001 and this important development demonstrates the level of confidence policy-makers and other professions have in paramedics in the UK.
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Well done to the COP team with this, great news for the paramedic profession, a true step in the right direction. Although I do not see why eligible paramedics can qualify as prescribers through successful completion of a higher education module at master’s level?
Why does it have to be at Masters level?
Added by: rocket on: 13.03.2018