British physiotherapists and podiatrists have become the first in the world to be allowed to prescribe medicines to their patients, according to new legislation. Now onwards they will no longer have to refer the patient back to a GP or other health care worker if they need to prescribe medications such as painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Under guidelines of the new legislation, now physiotherapists will be able to prescribe medicines for problems such as chronic pain and respiratory diseases like asthma. Additionally, podiatrists, who treat disorders of the foot, ankle and lower leg, will also be able to prescribe medication to their patients.
Physiotherapists and podiatrists are highly trained clinicians who play a crucial role in making certain that patients are given incorporated care that helps them recover after treatment or manage a long-term condition effectively. By initiating these changes, they aspire to make the best use of their skills and allow patients to benefit from a faster and more effective service, explained Health minister Lord Howe.
The move will be particularly beneficial for diabetic patients with infections of the feet and people with other forms of infections such as wounds and ingrown toenails and fungal infections. Now patients will be offered faster and more direct access to treatment and medicines they required, believes the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).
Dr Helena Johnson, CSP’s chair, stated giving physiotherapists the chance to prescribe independently will vastly improve the care they can provide in the future. Patients will now receive a more streamlined and efficient service, meaning they get the medicines they need more instantly. An unnecessary burden will be removed from doctors, with physiotherapists taking full responsibility and responsibility for the prescribing decisions they make.
For patients, the chance of faster relief from pain or other symptoms will also mean many can benefit more quickly from their physiotherapy treatment, added Dr Johnson. Alison Wishart, chair of the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, also explained independent prescribing provides podiatrists with the opportunity to deliver more flexible services for patients, ensuring timely access to medicines, care closer to home and enabling innovation.