New legislation comes into force today which will mean that physiotherapists and podiatrists in the UK will be the first to be able to independently prescribe medication to their patients, Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb has announced.
The move will mean patients will no longer have to go back to their doctors to get medication after visiting the physiotherapist or podiatrist, freeing up valuable time for GPs and making things more convenient for the patient.
Around 15 million people are currently living with a long term condition, which requires trips to hospital or to the GP. Many of these people will benefit from being treated closer to home and in a more timely manner, enabling them to better manage their condition.
Advanced practitioners will have to complete a training course approved by the Health and Care Professions Council and will only be able to prescribe medicines relevant to their role.
The full impact of these changes will be felt in summer 2014, when practitioners have completed their courses and are starting to prescribe for their patients.
Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb said: "This change will not only benefit patients by making it more convenient to get treatment but it will also free up valuable GP time. We are showing the world that the NHS is at the forefront of healthcare, paving the way for other countries.
Physiotherapists and podiatrists are highly skilled professionals and these changes will allow them to give better care to the millions of people with acute and long term conditions."