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Durham University News

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Patients will benefit from allowing podiatrists to prescribe medicines

(24 July 2012)

Judith Barbaro-Brown

Allowing podiatrists to prescribe medicines will help provide “an enhanced level of care” to patients, according to a leading UK podiatry spokesperson and Durham University expert.

Proposals for changes to legislation, announced by Ministers, will mean podiatrists could be granted independent prescribing responsibilities for the first time.

This will mean that rather than having to refer patients to other health care professionals, such as GPs, for prescriptions, podiatrists will be able to prescribe medicines relevant to their scope of practice and help reduce any delays in treatment.

Podiatrists are statutorily registered autonomous health professionals who focus on the diagnosis, management and treatment of foot and lower limb disorders.

Judith Barbaro-Brown, a Teaching Fellow at Durham University’s School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, and Senior Academic Advisor to the Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, welcomed the announcement.

She said: “This is a world-leading initiative that has significant benefit for a number of groups.

“Podiatrist are highly-trained clinicians, and those who can prescribe independently will be able to provide an enhanced level of care within their specialised areas of practice, such as in diabetes, musculo-skeletal medicine, and lower limb vascular disease.

“For patients this means that they can benefit from faster, direct access to essential treatment, without needing to be referred through another health professional, shortening the timescale and preventing a worsening of their symptoms, and in some cases prevent hospital admission and loss of limb.

“This is a major step forward for the podiatry profession, who have had limited prescribing rights since the 1980s, using medicines safely and effectively since then.

“For appropriately-trained, specialist podiatrists, independent prescribing allows them to make a greater contribution to patient care, ensuring that patients receive the most appropriate treatment at a time which is of greatest benefit.”

For the full announcement from the Department of Health, please see:

http://mediacentre.dh.gov.uk/2012/07/24/physiotherapists-and-podiatrists-set-to-gain-prescribing-powers/

For the announcement from the Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, please see: www.iocp.org.uk/

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