In our November 2011 Health Legal Update, we reported on the DH consultation allowing physiotherapists and podiatrists to become independent prescribers of certain medicines and a limited list of controlled drugs.

The DH has now announced that under new legislation (due to come into effect April next year), physiotherapists will be able to prescribe medication for chronic pain and respiratory diseases. Podiatrists will also be able to prescribe medication, which will be of particular assistance to diabetic patients suffering with fungal infections, or in-growing toenails.  

The effect should be to remove the burden from GPs and allow patients to access drugs that they need more quickly.  

Podiatrists and physiotherapists will need to qualify under a Health Professions Council education programme in order to qualify. Training programmes will be available from April 2013 and we will report further on this when there is more information available.