Advanced paramedics are the latest group of health workers to be given independent prescribing rights.
The changes being made to medicines legislation will apply throughout the UK, but changes to NHS regulations to implement independent prescribing are matters for each of the devolved administrations.
Paramedics, after undertaking additional training, will be able to prescribe medicines to patients. This is likely to happen in practice in early 2019.
The vision is to develop 999 ambulance services into community-based mobile urgent treatment services, giving paramedics the ability to ‘see and treat’ more patients at the scene. This in turn requires paramedics to have appropriate prescribing responsibilities and access to medicines.
It is hoped this will reduce the demand on other urgent and emergency services and therefore significantly reduce costs encountered.
There were 22,096 (as of February 2016) paramedics registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) in the UK. An advanced paramedic is an experienced paramedic who has undertaken, or is working towards a Master’s Degree in a subject relevant to their practice.
A Guide to Implementing Paramedic Prescribing within the NHS in the UK has been published by the College of Paramedics.