Around 70 nurse prescribers from across the country got together at a conference at Fieldhead hospital, Wakefield to discuss new prescribing laws.
Nurse prescribers (or non-medical prescribers) who have been specially trained, have previously been able to prescribe from an agreed list or according to a plan agreed with the patient and a doctor. But a new law now allows approved nurse prescribers to be fully independent – so they can potentially prescribe drugs without a doctor’s input when appropriate.
The conference was organised to discuss this new development and its impact on nurse prescribing in mental health and to share other developments around nurse prescribing and medication management. The keynote speaker at the event was Dr Neil Brimblecombe – director of mental health nursing from the Department of Health.
One of the main benefits of nurse’s prescribing medication rather than doctors is that patients can have quicker access to treatment. Nurse prescriber Richard Clibbens explains, "Nurses may often be in more regular contact with service users therefore more able to respond to their needs and any changes in relation to their drug treatment. It should reduce unnecessary appointments for patients, for example if they’re already seeing the nurse they won’t have to see the doctor as well."
He continues, "This conference was an opportunity for non medical prescribers to share good practice and discuss new developments such as the change in the law regarding prescribing. It’s been useful to see how other NHS Trusts are developing nurse prescribing and putting the new law into practice."
At South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust there are 12 qualified nurse prescribers and five more nurses are currently undertaking the required 6 months training to become prescribers. The Trust is working towards some of these nurse prescribers becoming fully independent.
The conference is the 2nd annual conference for non-medical prescribers who work in mental health across the north of England and the midlands.