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Home > Media and Events > Position statements

Independent prescribing for chiropodists/podiatrists and physiotherapists

Date of publication: 24/07/2012
Category: Position statement
Audience: Journalists and media

The Department of Health has announced that medicines legislation will be amended to allow independent prescribing responsibilities to be extended to appropriately trained chiropodists/podiatrists and physiotherapists.

Independent prescribing is prescribing by a practitioner (such as a doctor, dentist, or nurse) who is responsible for the assessment of patients and for decisions about the patient’s clinical management.

Of the professions we regulate, chiropodists/podiatrists, physiotherapists and radiographers can currently complete training to become supplementary prescribers. Supplementary prescribers can only prescribe a medicine where the medicine is listed in an agreed clinical management plan. This plan sets out the care to be provided to a patient and is agreed with the patient. By contrast, independent prescribers have greater autonomy as they can prescribe any medicine within their competence and knowledge, without being limited to the medicines listed in the clinical management plan.

As a regulator, we will play an important role in making sure that chiropodists/podiatrists and physiotherapists are able to act as independent prescribers safely and effectively. We will set standards for independent prescribing, approve education programmes delivering training in independent prescribing and mark on our Register where individuals have completed the appropriate training.

Chiropodists/podiatrists and physiotherapists must complete appropriate training and have their entry on our Register annotated (or marked) before they are able to start prescribing independently.

Chiropodists/podiatrists and physiotherapists who are currently practising as supplementary prescribers will need to complete additional training and be annotated on the Register before they can act as independent prescribers. 

As of May 2015, there were 89 HCPC approved independent prescribing education programmes for these professions and 92 registered chiropodists / podiatrists and 161 physiotherapists annotated on the HCPC register with independent prescribing rights.

- Ends –

For more information please visit the Department of Health’s website here

Note: Education providers who already deliver HCPC approved supplementary prescribing programmes can apply to deliver approved conversion and full independent / supplementary prescribing programmes. An amended approval process will be in place to assess these programmes against our standards. Any new education provider wishing to deliver an independent prescribing programme will need to complete our full approval process and we would require at least 6 months notice prior to any scheduled approval visit. All programme assessments will take place once our Standards for prescribing have been consulted on and approved.

For more information on our approval process click here
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