The BDA applauds Lords' efforts to expand prescribing rights for Allied Health Professionals

15 Feb 2024

The BDA welcomes the recent intervention in the House of Lords by Lord Bradley, who has been advocating for the government to extend independent prescribing rights to Allied Health Professionals (AHPs).

In his oral parliamentary question to Lord Markham, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), Lord Bradley asked for an update on the government's progress regarding the extension of prescribing responsibilities.

Lord Markham responded by detailing recent consultations and amendments aimed at expanding prescribing capabilities within allied health professions. He highlighted efforts to amend the Human Medicines Regulations to allow dental therapists, dental hygienists, and pharmacy technicians to supply and administer medicines without prescriptions, with the consultation response expected in the coming weeks.

Additionally, he noted amendments made in December to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, enabling independent prescriber paramedics and therapeutic radiographers to prescribe certain controlled drugs. Markham reiterated the government's commitment to empowering clinicians to practice at their highest level of expertise, while also emphasising the importance of caution to avoid overprescribing.

Baroness Merson queried the government's strategy to enhance and integrate the training of independent prescribers as part of the long-term workforce plan. Lord Markham confirmed the government's ambition to boost the number of AHP’s by 25% by 2030, with a significant portion expected to come through apprenticeships. He acknowledged the potential for AHPs, citing pharmacies aiding in vaccine administration during the COVID-19 pandemic as examples of where this approach has been successful. He said he would report back.

In response to Lord Markham’s remarks about overprescribing, the BDA’s Director for Education and Professional Practice, Najia Qureshi, said, “AHPs use their extensive knowledge, training and experience when making prescribing decisions. Rather than overprescribing, non-medical prescribers (NMPs) play a crucial role in reductions or discontinuations of medications entirely, as a result of close monitoring, and finding alternative, non-pharmacological treatments.”

The BDA remains committed to advocating for the advancement of prescribing rights for AHPs to improve patient care and promote interdisciplinary collaboration within healthcare settings. 

Related topics