Nurses to prescribe drugs

NURSES will be able to prescribe some drugs next October, more than eight years after a government- commissioned study recommended they should be given such powers, writes Nicholas Timmins.

However, only a handful of nurses in five or six schemes will be involved, and Baroness Cumberlege, the junior health minister, yesterday warned that the nurses would have to show that they would not unleash a 'prescribing bonanza' before the scheme goes nation-wide.

The move started in 1986 with a recommendation from Lady Cumberlege that district nurses should be allowed to prescribe some medicines.

It has taken seven years to agree on training, to get agreement with doctors and to get legislation through Parliament.