Non-medical prescribing (NMP) refers to the ability of qualified healthcare professionals who are not doctors or dentists to prescribe medication and treatments to patients.
It has been shown to have benefits for patient care and the economy. It is considered an investment that can save money and increasing non-medical prescribing capacity is seen as a key priority for upskilling healthcare professionals and enabling new care models. NMP training can help practitioners take on greater responsibilities for managing patient care and improve patient care by supporting timely access to treatment with medicines, enabling choice, reducing waiting times and hospital admissions, and maximizing the skills of the healthcare team.
The Department of Health specifies which registered professionals can become non-medical prescribers. At present, the included professionals are independent and supplementary prescribers such as nurses/midwives, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, paramedics, optometrists, and therapeutic radiographers. Supplementary prescribers only include diagnostic radiographers and dieticians. Community Practitioner Prescribers include nurses (health visitors and district nurses).
To become a non-medical prescriber, eligible practitioners must undertake an accredited program delivered by a Higher Education Institution (HEI). These programs provide the knowledge, skills, and training to prescribe safely and competently. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has created a Prescribing Competency Framework for all prescribers that has been designed to help maintain prescribing standards, inform education curricula, and provide a source of recognized guidance for those involved in NMP.
All prescribing roles build on and extend registered professions’ ability to deliver full episodes of patient care. In turn, this enhances patients’ timely access to treatment with medicines and patient experience while reducing waiting times, hospital admissions and more effectively using members of the healthcare team.
Some universities that offer non-medical prescribing courses include:
- The University of Nottingham
- The University of York
- The Open University
- Manchester Metropolitan University
- Robert Gordon University
- The University of Chester
There are several funding options available for non-medical prescribing courses in the UK. Appropriately experienced practitioners can undertake a free Designated Prescribing Practitioner course funded by Health Education England 2. Some universities offer financial support through a bursary or scholarship and some trusts offer funding for NMP courses. Employers may also offer financial support. Candidates are also able to self-fund and some pharmacists may be able to obtain funding through the Pharmacy Integration Fund.
The following criteria are required for a HEE funded place on a prescribing course:
- Your work or service must be part of the NHS and benefit from NMP (for example, not private cosmetic services)
- Your employer/organisation must approve your use of NMP in your service/practice.
- You must have access to a prescribing budget and a prescription pad, if needed
- You must have access to the appropriate supervisor(s)
- Your employer and the prescribing supervisor must commit to the necessary hours of supervised practice.
- You must meet the HEI admission criteria.
- You must meet any other local/employer requirements.
The following steps are required after completing the NMP course:
- Register with your regulator, such as GPhC, NMC, HCPC
- Provide evidence to your employers of your annotation.
- Complete any other local/employer requirements, such as scope of practice/formulary.
- Ensure you have sufficient indemnity arrangements.
- Maintain competence and undertake annual CPD and revalidation as specified by your regulator.
- Ensure you have adequate support for your prescribing role.
If you are interested in non-medical prescribing, you can visit our website and read our article Non-medical Prescribing in the United Kingdom. You can also find course information and an application for our Annual V300 Update course.
Training for non-medical prescribers | Health Education England. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/medicines-optimisation/training-non-medical-prescribers
Non-medical prescribing courses (V300) – The Xerte Project. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/healthsciences/cpd/courses/2022/non-medical-prescribing-nmp.aspx
Non-Medical Prescribing (V300) Course – University of Aberdeen | UK. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://on.abdn.ac.uk/courses/non-medical-prescribing/
Advanced Non-Medical Prescribing (V300) – ARU. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aru.ac.uk/study/professional-and-short-courses/v300-non-medical-prescribing