Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says suitably qualified and approved registered nurses will be able to prescribe from a list of commonly used medicines from next month.
“Registered nurses play an important part in helping to deliver faster, more convenient healthcare,” says Dr Coleman.
“We’re keen to support registered nurses to work at the top of their scope where it’s safe and appropriate for them to do so.
“New regulations which come into effect from 20 September means designated registered nurses will be able to prescribe medications from a specified list to treat certain common and long term conditions.
“The changes mean a suitably trained registered nurse working in a primary care team could treat a person needing medicines for a straightforward condition, potentially removing the need to refer him or her to a doctor or nurse practitioner.
“This has the potential to deliver faster care, reduce double handling and improve access to medicines.
“Our experience with registered nurses prescribing for people with diabetes, and evidence from other countries such as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, tells us that registered nurse prescribing is safe, acceptable to patients, and improves access to medicines.”
New Zealand’s Nursing Council will be responsible for ensuring nurses have met the required education and competence standards before they can become designated prescribers.
In another amendment to the regulations covering medicines, nurse practitioners and prescribing optometrists will be able to issue standing orders from 17 August.
A standing order is a written instruction authorising someone without prescribing rights to administer and/or supply specified medicines.
Standing orders improve patients’ timely access to medicines, especially in areas such as family planning clinics, primary care and aged care facilities.
Nurse practitioners and optometrists have been prescribing for more than ten years and are known to be safe and cautious prescribers.