Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association

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News for District nurses

Nurse Prescribing


Primary Care Nursing


Plans to extend nurse prescribing


Health minister John Hutton has launched a public consultation on proposals to add 60 new medicines to the Nurse Prescribers’ Extended Formulary.


He has also announced plans to extend the scope of nurse prescribing to:

  • The emergency treatment of asthma and diabetes

  • Pain relief in midwifery practice and coronary care

  • The treatment of chlamydia

  • The relief of symptoms of menopause



The Department of Health is also proposing to allow nurses for the first time to prescribe some medicines for ‘off label’ use in palliative care ‘…because we know beyond any doubt whatsoever, that nurses have the specialist knowledge and expertise to do so safely,’ said Mr Hutton.



Nearly 700 nurses have now qualified as ‘Extended Formulary’ nurse prescribers, there are nearly another 700 in training and 50 universities are now running prescribing courses.



Consultation letter MLX293 Proposals to amend the Nurse Prescribers Extended Formulary can be downloaded from the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Products Agency website at The deadline for comments is July 23.



New roles for primary care nurses


The Department of Health has published new guidance to help nurses take on new roles in primary care.



There are already ‘Nurses with a Special Interest’ working in primary care and the guidance aims to build on this good practice to improve access to treatment and help reduce waiting times for treatment traditionally only available in hospitals. It says nurses are taking on specialist work in areas such as heart failure, diabetes, stroke care and falls prevention so that a greater range and complexity of patient need is met in the community.



The Department of Health aims to have at least one million hospital outpatient appointments a year taking place in the community by 2006.



‘A Framework for Nurses with a Special Interest’ can be downloaded from