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Easier access to special medicine for patients

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health

28 August 2013

Easier access to special medicine for patients

Health Minister Tony Ryall has today announced four additional groups of doctors, including general practitioners (GPs), will now be able to prescribe subsidised specialist-only medicines to their patients.

From 1 September, PHARMAC is changing the definition of ‘specialist’ in the Pharmaceutical Schedule so all vocationally trained doctors approved by the Medical Council will be able to prescribe funded specialist-only medicines.

Four groups of doctors – urgent care, rural hospital medicine, pain medicine and general practice – not previously recognised as specialist prescribers in the Pharmaceutical Schedule will now be able to write subsidised prescriptions for specialist-only medicines.

“Some patients currently have to go through a two-step process to receive funded specialist-only medicines – the GP has to seek the approval of another busy specialist in order to prescribe their patient’s funded medicine,” says Mr Ryall.

“This change will make it easier for patients to receive funded specialist-only medicines and reduces the workload and time delays for doctors to prescribe,” says Mr Ryall.

There are 35 areas of medicine, or ‘vocational scopes’ which are recognised by the Medical Council of New Zealand.

All medical practitioners are listed on the Medical Council register, which shows each practitioner’s vocational scopes. If a pharmacist is unsure if a prescription has been correctly issued, they can easily check the register.


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