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Our professions' medicines and prescribing rights

The professions that can sell, supply, administer or prescribe medicines is set out in law. This means the law needs to change for professions to gain new rights. This happens over time as our professions develop

As of the 31st December 2023, legislation introduced by the Home Office permits paramedic independent prescribers and therapeutic independent prescribers to prescribe and administer a number of specified controlled drugs. See our list of controlled drugs page for further information.

Prescribing and working with medicines present higher levels of risk than other areas of practice. If the wrong medicine, or the wrong dose, is prescribed or administered, it can have significant consequences for service users and their families.

It is for this reason that the sale, supply and administration of certain medicines, and which professionals can prescribe these, is tightly controlled by legislation. The key pieces of legislation are:

  • The Medicines Act 1968
  • Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001
  • The Human Medicines Regulations 2012

Professions' current rights

The easiest way to check which medicines and prescribing rights your profession currently has is to review our table of medicines and prescribing rights for our registered professions. 

Medicine and prescribing rights of our registered professions

  • Supply and administration

    • PSD = Patient-specific direction
  • Supply and administration

    • PSD = Patient-specific direction
  • Supply and administration

    • PSD = Patient-specific direction
    • PGD = Patient group direction
    • Exemptions

    Prescribing

    • SP = Supplementary prescribing
    • IP = Independent prescribing
    • IP - CDs = IP of controlled drugs*

    *Controlled drugs (CDs) and our professions

    Supplementary prescribers can prescribe CDs within the limits of a clinical management plan.

    Independent prescribers may prescribe from a limited list of CDs, only if extra laws allow their profession to do so

  • Supply and administration

    • PSD = Patient-specific direction
  • Supply and administration

    • PSD = Patient-specific direction
    • PGD = Patient group direction

    Prescribing

    • SP = Supplementary prescribing
  • Supply and administration

    • PSD = Patient-specific direction
  • Supply and administration

    • PSD = Patient-specific direction
    • PGD = Patient group direction
  • Supply and administration

    • PSD = Patient-specific direction
    • PGD = Patient group direction
    • Exemptions
  • Supply and administration

    • PSD = Patient-specific direction
  • Supply and administration

    • PSD = Patient-specific direction
    • PGD = Patient group direction
    • Exemptions

    Prescribing

    • SP = Supplementary prescribing
    • IP = Independent prescribing
    • IP - CDs = IP of controlled drugs*

    *Controlled drugs (CDs) and our professions

    Supplementary prescribers can prescribe CDs within the limits of a clinical management plan.

    Independent prescribers may prescribe from a limited list of CDs, only if extra laws allow their profession to do so.

  • Supply and administration

    • PSD = Patient-specific direction
    • PGD = Patient group direction

    Prescribing

    • SP = Supplementary prescribing
    • IP = Independent prescribing
    • IP - CDs = IP of controlled drugs*

    *Controlled drugs (CDs) and our professions

    Supplementary prescribers can prescribe CDs within the limits of a clinical management plan.

    Independent prescribers may prescribe from a limited list of CDs, only if extra laws allow their profession to do so.

  • Supply and administration

    • PSD = Patient-specific direction
  • Supply and administration

    • PSD = Patient-specific direction
    • PGD = Patient group direction
  • Radiographer - Diagnostic

    Supply and administration

    • PSD = Patient-specific direction
    • PGD = Patient group direction

    Prescribing

    • SP = Supplementary prescribing

    Radiographer - Therapeutic

    Supply and administration

    • PSD = Patient-specific direction
    • PGD = Patient group direction

    Prescribing

    • SP = Supplementary prescribing
    • IP = Independent prescribing
    • IP - CDs = IP of controlled drugs*

    *Controlled drugs (CDs) and our professions

    Supplementary prescribers can prescribe CDs within the limits of a clinical management plan.

    Independent prescribers may prescribe from a limited list of CDs, only if extra laws allow their profession to do so.

  • Supply and administration

    • PSD = Patient-specific direction
    • PGD = Patient group direction
See our table of medicines and prescribing rights

Changing our profession’s medicines and prescribing rights

When registrants progress through to more senior or specialist roles within their profession, there is often a greater need for access to medicine and prescribing rights. We understand that this causes frustration when the cognate profession does have access to those rights and we appreciate this presents limitations to the development of those professions, and the care they are able to provide to their service users.

Changes to our profession’s medicines and prescribing rights are not led by HCPC. This is because a change in law is required. Instead this work is initially led by NHS England. They work with professional bodies on behalf of the four countries of the UK to consider the supply, administration and prescribing of medicines by new professions. We support and assist NHS England in this process, to ensure our professions have access to the medicine entitlements they need to provide safe and effective care to their service users in a holistic, efficient manner.

  • A public consultation must be held by NHS England;
  • The Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) must recommend the change to Ministers;
  • Ministers must decide to change the law;
  • Changes to the law must be passed in Parliament; and
  • Changes must be made to NHS regulations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to give effect to the change in the law
  • The Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) must recommend the change to the Home Office Ministers;
  • Ministers must decide to change the law relating to controlled drugs in England, Scotland and Wales; and
  • Northern Irish legislation needs to be amended separately by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland.

If you would like to lobby for changes to medicines and prescribing law, contact your professional body to support and develop the case of need for your profession.

Find out more about NHS England's work on their website.

Current proposed changes

Below is a list of proposed changes to our profession’s medicines and prescribing rights which have not yet become law.

Tudalen wedi'i diweddaru ymlaen: 25/03/2021
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