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Prescription Capability Urged For Nurses



An increased capacity for suitably qualified nurses to provide front-line health advice and prescribe treatments is required by General Practitioners if they are to achieve Government aims of improved health care delivery at community level, says the head of a leading community health care organisation.

Dr Jonathan Simon, a director of First Health, says GPs must be given the ability to better utilise the contribution and expertise of nurses if they are to maintain, let alone expand, health services to their communities.

He says doctors are coming under severe pressure to deliver more with less funding and even less resource, "yet here is one resource that is immediately available without any comprise to standards or quality. All it requires is Government's greater acceptance of the nursing profession's capability."

Dr Simon says considerable pressure could be taken off general practices if nurses were given the ability to provide a more direct level of health care advice and a level of treatment prescription authority in consultation.

"In the community health care environment, where nurses already work in close consultation with doctors, this can only be seen as a practical, rather than revolutionary, step forward."

Dr Simon says such a move would provide general practice teams with considerably greater flexibility to ensure health resources were placed at the door of those who needed them most.

"It would give doctors the time and therefore a renewed ability to look at integrating services and care across a wider range of community needs. Patients generally would gain improved access to advice and treatment and would benefit from the time doctors would then have to follow through on treatments or hospital care.

"This requires no great Government investment, yet offers the potential of significant value being added to community health care delivery."


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