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Greater Scope For Nurses Signalled

Health Minister Annette King wants the health sector to start work on proposals for allowing nurses to prescribe for a greater range of conditions than those in the aged care and child and family health areas already underway.

"Within the next few months I will be asking my Cabinet colleagues to consider regulations to allow nurses practising in aged care and child and family health to start prescribing upon the completion of appropriate training," Mrs King said today.

"Beyond that I have also asked the Ministry of Health to start working with the sector on proposals to implement nurse prescribing in several new areas which seem to offer ideal opportunities for this approach.

"I have asked the Ministry to provide guidance to those wishing to put forward proposals for prescribing in the areas of sexual and reproductive health, occupational health, mental health, asthma, diabetes and palliative care.

"For people needing care in these areas a nurse is often the first point of contact," Mrs King said.

"It seems logical to contemplate whether allowing them to prescribe would provide a better service for their patients.

"I expect nurses and officials will extend the very responsible approach they have taken to this issues to date to these new areas of practice.

"At present we have groups working on how to ensure the safety of nurse prescribing, on defining the drugs they can prescribe, on the educational and training requirements for nurse prescribers, on tissues around antibiotic resistance, on registration and on disciplinary procedures.

"Once that work is completed and agreed, we need to have regulations in place to empower nurses to start working in this exciting new way."

Nurse prescribing is expected to be implemented in 2001 or sooner.


For further information ring John Harvey on 04 471 9305


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