Physiotherapists and podiatrists in England are to be given the power to prescribe medicines without going through a doctor.
Physiotherapists who undertake extra training will be able to prescribe a range of drugs, including painkillers and anti-inflammatories, to treat issues such as chronic pain. Specialist physiotherapists will also be able to offer drugs relating to their clinical speciality. A specialist in respiratory issues, for example, would be able to prescribe some asthma treatments.
The right to issue prescriptions has been extended to senior nurses in recent years and ministers are now responding to building pressure to give these powers to other health professionals. The Government’s plans still need to be approved by Parliament and will not come into force until 2014.