Health Minister delighted nurse prescribing is underway
The Minister of Health Annette King today announced the news that Cabinet has approved the first set of regulations for nurse prescribing.
"I welcome this development. Prescribing will be a very important tool for nurse practitioners in treating their clients in the future," Mrs King said. She made the announcement at a Nursing Council function to celebrate 100 years since the introduction of the Nursing Registration Act in New Zealand.
"It is timely that, in the centennial year of registration, a new step forward for nursing will commence."
The regulations will come into force in October. They allow advanced nurses practising in aged care and child family health, who meet the Nursing Council's competency requirements, to prescribe a specified list of prescription and controlled medicines. In addition, these nurses will be able to prescribe a specified list of general sale, pharmacy only and restricted medicines.
The regulations define the aged care and child family health scopes of practice, and specify the competency and training requirements that nurses must satisfy to be authorised to prescribe. Only nurses who comply with the requirements will be able to prescribe.
"The introduction of nurse prescribing in aged care and child family health has the potential to improve access to services, improve patient education and reduce secondary illnesses and hospital admissions for children and older people," Mrs King said.
A review of nurse prescribing will be undertaken over a three year period, once prescribing begins likely to be mid-2002. The costs and benefits will be assessed with Pharmac monitoring the impact on the pharmaceutical budget.
A New Prescribers Advisory Committee has been established to advise the Minister of Health on further prescribing proposals. Proposals are currently being developed for nurse prescribing in sexual and reproductive health, mental health, occupational health and palliative care.