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First Physiotherapists To Prescribe Medication

16 May 2014

Eight physiotherapists in England have started prescribing medicines for their patients - without the involvement of a doctor - a historic first for our profession.

File 126285
Clockwise from top left: Katherine Longhurst, Suresh Sudula, Mohammed Yosseff, Stan Chapman

Clockwise from top left: Rosalie Barrett, Vijay Padmanaban, Stephen Ashford and Lucy Goldby

These men and women are the first physios in the UK to start working as independent prescribers after they gained accreditation from the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) on 29 April. The first of which has been the prescription of pain relief for patients. These physiotherapists have become pioneers after attended one of the UK’s first independent prescribing courses for physiotherapists and other allied health professionals.

Clinical lead physiotherapist at Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust in west London, 
Ms Barrett, told Frontline: ‘This is a huge step forward for the profession, as we are now all able to prescribe within our specialist fields. It’s still early days, but this new skill will undoubtedly benefit patient care and ensure timely interventions.’

Physios like these eight professionals will now be able to deliver more effective patient services, give patients a better experience and promote the value of physiotherapy in managing care pathways.

Mr Sudula, a consultant physiotherapist in musculoskeletal ultrasound at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent, said: ‘Having independent prescription status has enabled me to prescribe for patients at their initial consultation so they don’t have to visit their GP for prescriptions, which can take up to two or three weeks.‘It has also made a very positive impact on our service, because it allows us to offer a “one stop shop”, which prevents unnecessary visits to the GP, and provides better primary care.’

Ms White says the HCPC has now approved 50 more physiotherapy independent prescribing courses at UK universities.‘The next step is for more physios to enrole on these programmes, so that patients across the country can benefit from the service improvements that independent prescribing physios can deliver,’ said Ms White.

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