All non-prescribing nurse practitioners may have to upskill to be prescribers within two years to align with new legislation.
The Medicines Bill, due to be passed by the end of this year, will bring in long-awaited authorised prescribing status for NPs – the same status as medical practitioners and midwives – and assumes that all NPs are prescribers.
However, currently about 21 of the country’s 113 registered NPs are without prescribing rights.
The Nursing Council is consulting on changing the NP scope of practice so all future NPs have to be prescribers.
Michal Boyd, chair of Nurse Practitioners New Zealand, made a call at the recent NPNZ conference for non-prescribing NPs not to be required to go once again through the portfolio and interview panel process to become prescribers.
She suggested that the Council instead require NPs to meet the academic and clinical competencies for prescribing, including a supervised prescribing practicum.
Nursing Council’s latest annual report indicates 95 NPs are currently in active practice. A recent NPNZ survey of members received 76 responses, of which 76 per cent said they were authorised to prescribe and prescribed frequently and 6.7 per cent were authorised but prescribed rarely or never. Of the 17.4 per cent of respondents who were not prescribers, 10.7 per cent were intending to apply and 6.7 did not want to prescribe.
The consultation document can be downloaded from the Nursing Council website and submissions close on 12 November. The Council also intends to carry out a follow-up consultation on the NP scope and qualifications.
NPs prescribing status on track
Nurse practitioners attending the recent NPNZ conference expressed concern that they may not gain authorised prescribing status until July 2014, even if the bill is passed by the end of the year.
But a spokesman for the Associate Health Minister
Peter Dunne said the July 2014 date is the latest the bill can come into force.
“No delays are anticipated, and it is expected the commencement date for the provisions of the new regulations will be well before 1 July 2014.”