Extended prescribing by UK nurses and pharmacists

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7528.1337-a (Published 01 December 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1337

Computer systems need to incorporate nurse prescribing

  1. Stephen C Earwicker, general practitioner (stephen.earwicker{at}nhs.net)
  1. Broxtowe and Hucknall Primary Care Trust, Nottingham NG9 2TA

    EDITOR—In terms of the issue of nurse and pharmacist prescribing Avery and Pringle are right to raise the issue of patient safety, which must be at the heart of all we do.1

    We have been in the forefront of nurse prescribing in our general practice and have found both good practice and some frustrations. Intrinsically we have found our extended and supplementary nurse prescribing to be safe. Nurses by their training are driven by the concept of competency, and we have found it central to the way of working to assess and prescribe only within the bounds of clear competency. The introduction of safe nurse prescribing has undoubtedly been helped by the presence of a strong and open clinical team supporting the nurses throughout their initial training and on an ongoing basis. Our frustration has been the lack of integration of nurse prescribing with our clinical computer system.

    This has, as the editorial points out, removed a potential safety feature open to doctors when they prescribe. There are ways around this, but it would have been far better to encourage computer prescribing by nurses from the outset. We need a rapid roll-out of nurse prescribing software on general practitioners' and community clinical computing systems before April 2006.


    • Competing interests SCE is a medical practitioner


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