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Letter: Prescribing is an integral part of the DSN role

Andrea Taylor

In response to the article ‘Advantages and disadvantages of nurse prescribing’ (Vol 1, No 4, p113), I would like to reply on behalf of our diabetes specialist nurse team in Hull. Our current practice includes the alteration of drugs, i.e. insulin or oral hypoglycaemic agents already prescribed in accordance with our job descriptions and agreed protocols, which are signed by our consultant diabetologist colleagues. However, we appreciate that the legality of this is still questionable under the Medicines Act 1968 and highlighted by Cradock (1998). Although I do not feel it is appropriate for DSNs to be involved in general prescribing, I do however believe that the ability to prescribe non-drug items, such as monitoring equipment and other self-care items, would save time for both the patients and ourselves as not all GPs are familiar with diabetes care equipment.

Within our team, we would welcome further training and education to support the role of the DSN to prescribe a limited list of medicines in accordance with recommendations from the 1989 Crown Report (Department of Health, 1989). None of  the DSNs in Hull have a community qualification. Does this mean we would be excluded from being able to prescribe?

In response to the article ‘Advantages and disadvantages of nurse prescribing’ (Vol 1, No 4, p113), I would like to reply on behalf of our diabetes specialist nurse team in Hull. Our current practice includes the alteration of drugs, i.e. insulin or oral hypoglycaemic agents already prescribed in accordance with our job descriptions and agreed protocols, which are signed by our consultant diabetologist colleagues. However, we appreciate that the legality of this is still questionable under the Medicines Act 1968 and highlighted by Cradock (1998). Although I do not feel it is appropriate for DSNs to be involved in general prescribing, I do however believe that the ability to prescribe non-drug items, such as monitoring equipment and other self-care items, would save time for both the patients and ourselves as not all GPs are familiar with diabetes care equipment.

Within our team, we would welcome further training and education to support the role of the DSN to prescribe a limited list of medicines in accordance with recommendations from the 1989 Crown Report (Department of Health, 1989). None of  the DSNs in Hull have a community qualification. Does this mean we would be excluded from being able to prescribe?

REFERENCES:

Cradock S, Avery L (1998) Nurse prescribing in diabetes. Professional Nurse 13(5): 315–9
Department of Health (1989) Report of the Advisory Group on Nurse Prescribing (Crown Report). HMSO, London

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