Physiotherapists in the UK will become the first in the world to be able to independently prescribe medication to their patients, the Department of Health has announced.
Confirming plans that were first outlined last year, the care and support minister Norman Lamb said that the new legislation, which will also empower podiatrists to prescribe medicines, would speed up treatments and free up GP’s time.
Currently, physios and podiatrists must refer a patient to a GP in order to get a prescription. Practitioners who want to issue prescriptions will have to complete a training course and will only be able to prescribe medications in their specific area. The changes will come into force when the first wave of training courses has been completed in summer 2014.
“This change will not only benefit patients by making it more convenient to get treatment but it will also free up valuable GP time,” Mr Lamb said. “We are showing the world that the NHS is at the forefront of healthcare, paving the way for other countries. Physiotherapists and podiatrists are highly skilled professionals and these changes will allow them to give better care to the millions of people with acute and long term conditions.”
Phil Gray, chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: "This is a landmark moment that will lead to patients receiving faster, more effective treatment for their condition.”