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Amendments to Standing Orders applauded

August 11, 2011

Amendments to Standing Orders applauded

Recent amendments to the Medicines Standing Order Regulations (2002) are good news for rural health providers because it allows for more flexibility in the prescribing process, says New Zealand Rural General Practice Network chairman Dr Jo Scott-Jones.

The new regulations, which took effect on August 1, 2011, give the green light for providers working with Standing Orders to agree whether there is a need for every use of a Standing Order to be reviewed or not. If they mutually decide there is no need they can agree a process for random or intermittent review of cases, says Dr Scott-Jones.

“This means non-prescribing nurses working in rural and remote situations do not have to have every consultation with a patient, in which they provide medication or a prescription, reviewed by a prescribing doctor or nurse practitioner.”

“This will unburden health providers from what was previously an onerous and difficult-to-manage bureaucratic task, which is one of the barriers identified to the use of Standing Orders,” says Dr Scott-Jones.

Previously, every time a Standing Order was used, a nurse would have to have his or her records reviewed by a doctor who would have to specifically sign them off, which meant that the doctor and nurse would have to meet face-to-face every week to make sure that happened. This process was compounded if the two worked in distant locations.
Now, a nurse working in a separate location can meet with the doctor once a month to review a random five cases, for example.
It’s essentially a change in the way the checks and balances work in prescribing under Standing Orders, says Dr Scott-Jones.

Dr Scott-Jones will lead a workshop on Standing Orders at the upcoming GPNZ/RNZCGP conference at the Langham Hotel in Auckland, September 1-4, 2011.


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