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Network applauds change to controlled drugs prescribing

PRESS RELEASE New Zealand Rural General Practice Network, July 2, 2014, for immediate use

Network applauds change to controlled drugs prescribing

Change to legislation which enables nurse practitioners to become authorised prescribers removes another barrier to delivering better quality health care to patients, says New Zealand Rural General Practice Network deputy chair and Temuka nurse practitioner Sharon Hansen.

“Many people have worked hard to overturn restrictive legislation which has stood in the way of expert nurses delivering care within their communities.

“Access to timely treatment including medications has always been a barrier to care and more so in rural communities. With this legislation now enacted a major access issue has been removed for patients being cared for by nurse practitioners.

“The Network now awaits the enactment of the omnibus law, which will further reduce restrictive wording around other activities undertaken by nurse practitioners,” says Ms Hansen.

In April 2014 the Ministry of Health consulted key stakeholders on proposed amendments to nurse practitioners’ and midwives’ prescribing of controlled drugs.

The feedback received was incorporated in the Ministry’s advice to Cabinet on amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977. The proposed amendments were approved by Cabinet and on July 1, 2014 the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Regulations 2014 came into effect.

The amendments remove the current restrictions on nurse practitioner prescribing of controlled drugs (only three days’ supply; in an emergency; and from a list of 42 controlled drugs) and allow nurse practitioners to prescribe for patients within their scope of practice for: up to one month’s supply for Class A or B controlled drugs; up to three months’ supply for Class C controlled drugs; allow midwives to prescribe morphine and fentanyl, in addition to pethidine.

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