Only a few years ago, the chances of finding a pharmacist at your local GP surgery were pretty slim, let alone leaving the surgery with a prescription issued by them. 

Traditionally only doctors write prescriptions in this setting, with the exception of nurses also being able to do so from a restricted list of drugs. The introduction and expansion of non-medical prescribing however, has expanded capacity and enhanced the capabilities of healthcare teams. 

So what is non-medical prescribing?

Any prescribing completed by an appropriately qualified healthcare professional other than a doctor or dentist is considered non-medical prescribing. This was made possible through the inception of independent and supplementary prescribing courses. 

The introduction and extension of these additional qualifications saw the number of professionals with prescribing rights gradually increase. Now it not only includes nurses, but also pharmacists, physiotherapists and paramedics to name but three examples. 

What are the benefits of non-medical prescribing?

Prescribing is a complex skill that is potentially high risk and requires accuracy, clinical confidence and diligence. It is also in tremendously high demand with dispensed prescription items in England reaching 1.14 billion in 2021/22, a 2.58% increase from the previous year. With a larger workforce of suitably qualified healthcare professionals, the NHS will be able to meet the growing demands of local communities. 

Improving patient access to care was a significant policy driver in the expansion of non-medical prescribing as this not only makes it easier for patients but also helps improve outcomes through more timely and appropriate management of long term conditions whilst not compromising patient safety. 

Patients report that they like it too. An analysis of non-medical prescribing found that patients were not only accepting of the provision of care by independent prescribers but also satisfied with the outcomes, reporting benefits including timely access to treatment, more flexibility and better continuity of care. 

The extent of non-medical prescribing

In 2021, pharmacist prescribing accounted for almost 49% of all non-medical prescribing and new standards introduced in 2020 by the General Pharmaceutical Council, making prescribing skills an integral part of pharmacists’ training. This means that all pharmacy graduates will be independent prescribers from 2026. 

It’s therefore safe to say that this rise in non-medical prescribing is just the beginning

What does this mean for us at Eva?

At Eva Health Technologies, we build solutions to embrace the talents of teams. This commitment is mirrored across our organisation, incorporating a wide range of voices in our advisory team, both clinical and non-clinical. We believe that healthcare delivery is a team sport, with many roles bringing their different skills and expertise to deliver timely, high-quality care. 

Ensuring our software is built in a user-centric manner is fundamental to achieving our goals as a company. Not only are we committed to accommodating the technological needs of a changing healthcare system, we are committed to ensuring our users have adaptable software solutions which are continuously improved

Are you a healthcare professional with a passion for better prescribing and want us to build something better for you? If so, we would love to hear from you!

NHS Business Services Authority; Prescription Cost Analysis – England – 2021/22
Care Quality Commission; GP mythbuster 95: Non-medical prescribing
Care Quality Commission; The safer management of controlled drugs: Annual update 2021
Evaluation of nurse and pharmacist independent prescribing
Non-medical prescribing: Where are we now?