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Nurse Prescribing

Volume 202: debated on Tuesday 21 January 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress is being made towards permitting nurse prescribing.

My hon. Friend the Member for Chiselhurst (Mr. Sims) has introduced a private Member's Bill to allow nurse prescribing. It has the Government's full support.

I thank my hon. Friend. As, only a few months ago, she very charmingly killed a similar measure that I had introduced I doubly welcome her support now. Does she now accept that allowing nurses to write prescriptions against a limited range of medical products is a liberalising measure that peels back one layer of the onion skin in the bureaucracy of health care? Would she care to tell the House the costs and benefits of this measure, which will be welcomed so much by doctors, nurses and, of course, patients?

The House and, indeed, the nursing profession are indebted to my hon. Friend, who pioneered this measure in the House. I am very pleased that our hon. Friend the Member for Chislehurst (Mr. Sims) is now able to take it forward. We did indeed commission a cost-benefit analysis by Touche Ross. That has been published today, and there is a copy in the Library. It shows that the cost is likely to be about 15 million a year, but the benefits will be improved patient care and a greater ability on the part of community nurses to use their professional skills to the full.