Physiotherapists and podiatrists in physio clinics in London and other areas across the UK will finally be able to prescribe pills for pain relief, diabetic foot ulcers and arthritis disorders independently from GP’s under new legislation passed in the country.
The decision follows nearly a decade of campaigns by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP).
The UK is the only country in the world to grant such powers to physiotherapists and podiatrists – and the law opens up a potentially sizable new market for the pharmacy industry to target. There are over 40,000 physiotherapists and nearly 13,000 podiatrists across Britain registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) regulatory body.
Care and support minister Norman Lamb said “these changes will allow physiotherapists and podiatrists to give better care to the millions of people with acute and long term conditions” He added that the changes will also free up valuable time for GPs. What is more, many healthcare experts believe that this change will lead to a more efficient use of NHS resources, and a streamlined service for patients.
Around 15 million people are currently living with a long-term condition, which requires trips to hospital or to the GP. Many of these people will benefit from being treated closer to home and in a timelier manner, enabling them to better manage their condition. Advanced practitioners will have to complete a training course approved by the Health and Care Professions Council, and will only be able to prescribe medicines relevant to their role.
The full impact of these changes will be felt in summer 2014, when practitioners have completed their courses and are starting to prescribe for their patients.
In summary, Phil Gray, chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said that “Physiotherapists being able to independently prescribe – for the first time anywhere in the world – will remove bureaucracy, free up time for doctors and save money for the NHS”.