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NZNO Wants More Nurses To Be Able To Prescribe

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
NZNO Wants More Nurses To Be Able To Prescribe

NZNO has given a cautious welcome to today's (April 7) Ministerial announcement that a group of registered nurses working in diabetes health will be able to independently prescribe medications for their patients. Minister of Health Tony Ryall said specialist diabetes nurses working in Auckland, Hawke's Bay, Midcentral and Hutt District Health Boards would be able to prescribe, in a demonstration that would make life easier for diabetes patients and make better use of nursing skills.

NZNO professional nursing adviser Charlotte Thompson said the demonstration would undoubtedly improve the care of people with diabetes. "These nurses are already deeply involved in the care of these people. Being able to prescribe medication for them will be a very positive move in terms of improving their access to health care - they won't have to go to the doctor so often - and their health outcomes."

But NZNO was not in favour of a narrowly focus, disease-based approach to nurse prescribing. "We welcome this demonstration as an initial step on the journey to wider nurse prescribing. NZNO believes legislation should be changed to enable all nurses who meet the Nursing Council's requirements to prescribe. International evidence strongly indicates nurse prescribing is safe, improves patient access to medicines and health outcomes and reduces doctors' workloads. Rather than a piecemeal approach, NZNO favours an approach where all nurses who had met the Nursing Council's requirements, which are designed to protect public safety, could prescribe. This would greatly increase New Zealanders' access to affordable health care," Thompson said.

Chair of NZNO's diabetes nurse specialists' group, Pauline Giles, said the demonstration would help nurses further their careers, give them increased autonomy and recognition and help retain nurses within diabetes services.

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