Independent Prescribing


Dietitians and other Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) have consistently shown through secondary prescribing rights that we can be trusted with independent prescribing rights. By not providing independent prescribing rights for UK dietitians, we are adding unnecessary layers of bureaucracy onto an already overstretched NHS, and slowing down the care and service transformation that patients need.

We need independent prescribing rights now!

That’s why the BDA has joined with other AHPs such as the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists, British & Irish Orthoptic Society, the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, and the Society of Radiographers to launch our Prescribing Now campaign. This campaign aims to pressure the UK Government into taking the necessary steps to allow our members across all four nations of the UK independent prescribing rights, to deliver the efficient and necessary care that patients deserve.

Why is this needed?

Dietitians already have supplementary prescribing rights, which means that they can train to prescribe most drugs within their scope of practice and in accordance with a patient's clinical management plan agreed with an independent prescriber.

However, the BDA argues that full, independent prescribing rights are needed to enable advanced clinical practice dietitians to practise at the top end of their license and deliver the best possible care for patients. This would help provide services with better support and more timely care for patients, improved patient safety, reduced pressure on other professionals and increased system efficiency.

Such an extension would also build on the ground work already undertaken by NHS England’s scoping exercise over the last few years on extending prescribing rights to our members and other professionals. This is a common-sense policy and one that we need to see delivered.

You can watch this fantastic video by dietitian Dr Alison Culkin on why independent prescribing rights are so important for the profession and patients.

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What is the Prescribing Now Campaign?

Prescribing Now is a joint campaign across a number of AHPs to push the UK Government to make the necessary policy changes to give independent prescribing rights to dietitians and other AHPs across the four nations. It builds on the work that the BDA and others have already done in this space to push forward this important issue. We’re working tirelessly to state the case for independent prescribing rights and drive the necessary change within the Department for Health and Social Care to secure it.

How can you get involved?

As a dietitian and member of the BDA there is a lot you can do to support our campaign and help make our voice heard by the Government.

  1. You can send a letter to your local MP asking them to support our letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. The Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists have provided a template to get you started. You can also find out who your local MP is and how to contact them by using the UK Parliament website here.
  2. You can also get involved on social media by using our campaign hashtag #PrescribingNow and showing your support for independent prescribing rights for dietitians. Liking and retweeting our, and our fellow AHPs, social media posts on this campaign goes a long way to show the Department for Health and Social Care that this is a campaign that our members and the profession care about.
  3. If right for you, also continue to undertake the training and qualifications to become a secondary prescriber. This helps to show the UK Government that dietitians want prescribing rights and that as a profession we need independent prescribing rights.
  4. Finally follow us on social media and watch this space as we continue to passionately make the case for independent prescribing rights for our members and more opportunities for you to get involved arise.

Enough waiting - it’s time for Prescribing Now!