Paramedic prescribing: a potion for success or a bitter pill to swallow?

Dylan Griffin
Saturday, May 2, 2015

In a climate of unprecedented demand on healthcare services, ageing demographics, population growth through immigration, a reduction in junior doctors' working hours, and overriding political agendas, the need to develop innovative new roles and expand the scope of practice for existing practitioners, including paramedics, is paramount if the NHS is to maintain resilience in an evolving healthcare system. Recent legislative changes now permit chiropodists/podiatrists and physiotherapists to independently prescribe, further fuelling other allied health professions (AHPs), such as paramedics' and radiographers' desire to become future independent prescribers. Implementation has the potential to enhance patient/clinician experiences through improved access to medicines, and would significantly reduce the need for multi-disciplinary involvement per care episode, yielding cost-efficiency savings through reduced ambulance journeys, fewer avoidable admissions, further augmenting patient care delivery. Paramedic independent prescribing (PIP) would also elicit improved inter-professional collaboration, enhance employability and promote professional autonomy in evolving advanced practice roles. Such innovation requires legislative changes, but remains paramount if paramedics are to actively contribute towards tackling the increasing burden of unprecedented demand, limited resources, and ongoing commitment to achieve cost-efficiency savings within the modern NHS.

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