Physiotherapists working in the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust will be among the first in Northern Ireland to be allowed to prescribe medicine or garments under a pilot which will reduce patient waiting times for a prescription and free up GP appointments.
Under the six month pilot programme, physiotherapists working with patients suffering from lymphoedema, respiratory and musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions will be able to write prescriptions where appropriate for medicines or garments required urgently or where the prescription items required are complex in nature.
Margaret Moorehead, MBE, Assistant Director, Allied Health Professions, South Eastern Trust said, “Musculoskeletal complaints account for approximately 30% of GP appointments. A prescribing physiotherapist will mean the patient does not have to go to the GP for a prescription and will enable the patient to receive the right medicine at the right time from the right healthcare professional.”
Respiratory physiotherapists who can issue prescriptions will benefit patients during the current and any future wave of Covid-19 as patients can be supported after discharge from hospital and cared for in a community setting, as part of their rehabilitation.
Andrea Linton, Pharmacy and Medicines Management Co-ordinator, Health and Social Care Board said, “This new pilot will improve access to medicines, reduce duplication of effort and utilise the skills and experience of a wider range of prescribers. Over the next few months, we will be testing the efficacy of this programme and identifying the benefit to patients.”
The New Models of Prescribing pilot will be tested initially in South Eastern and Southern Trust areas for a six month period.